Walter Bond: Radical animal-rights activist pleads guilty to burning down Sheepskin Factory

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According to the Walter Bond plea agreement, the following statement appeared on after the blaze:

"The arson at the Sheepskin Factory in Denver was done in defense and retaliation for all the innocent animals that have died cruelly at the hands of human oppressors. Be warned that making a living from the use and abuse of animals will not be tolerated. Also be warned that leather is every bit as evil as fur. As demonstrated in my recent arson against the Leather Factory in Salt Lake City. Go vegan! -- ALF Lone Wolf."

As a new item points out, Bond still faces arson charges in Utah. The piece encourages animal rights supporters to write Bond in jail, as does a separate post at that includes a September 1 manifesto from Bond entitled, "Why I Am a Vegan." The trigger for his anti-meat philosophy, he writes, was a job "to build an extension to the kill floor at the IBP plant in Perry, Iowa... In this fully functioning slaughter-house I saw the most grizzly mechanized murders that there are to witness."

Look below to see an enormous amount of info, including his plea agreement, a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, and material gleaned from earlier Westword posts about Bond, including the original criminal complaint and a music video tribute to "Lone Wolf" for torching a meth lab back in the 1990s:

U.S. Attorney's Office release:


DENVER -- Walter Bond, aka "Lone Wolf," age 34, of Salt Lake City, Utah, pled guilty this afternoon [November 18] to one count of use of fire or explosives to damage and destroy property in interstate commerce, and one count of force, violence and threats involving an Animal Enterprise, United States Attorney John Walsh, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge James Davis announced. The guilty plea was tendered before U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello. Judge Arguello is scheduled to sentence Bond on February 11, 2011.

Walter Edmund Bond was first charged by Criminal Complaint on July 23, 2010. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 27, 2010. He pled guilty today, November 18, 2010.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on April 30, 2010, at about 3:30 a.m., a fire occurred at the Sheepskin Factory, located at 510 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale, Colorado. The Sheepskin Factory is a commercial retail business that uses and sells animal products for profit. The fire destroyed the building and its contents, resulting in approximately $500,000 in damages.

Investigators at the scene of the fire determined the fire was incendiary and had been intentionally set. Video footage from a business next to the Sheepskin Factory showed a person wearing a dark, long sleeve hooded shirt and carrying a dark colored backpack walking toward the Sheepskin Factory right before the fire was set. The general height and weight of the person from the video appears to match that of the defendant.

After the fire, Bond posted a message on the internet taking responsibility for the Sheepskin Factory fire. At the end of that message the defendant used the nickname "ALF Lone Wolf." Bond later contacted an old acquaintance, traveling from Salt Lake City to Denver for a meeting. As a result of that meeting, agents and investigators determined that Bond targeted the Sheepskin Factory because it represented animals that wolves typically hunt. They also learned that the defendant broke into the Sheepskin Factory through the back door to light the fire. When agents arrested the defendant, he had a dark colored backpack with him.

"An alleged political agenda never justifies violent criminal actions like those the defendant took in this case," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "Those who resort to such actions will face resolute prosecution and significant prison time."

"ATF is dedicated to safeguarding the American public by enforcing federal laws related to arson," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson. "We take the crime of arson very seriously and will aggressively pursue those who choose to commit this cowardly act of violence."

"This guilty plea is the result of the hard work and dedication of our agents and task force officers and the cumulative commitment of the FBI, ATF, Glendale Police Department, Denver Fire Department, and U.S. Attorney's Office to aggressively investigate and prosecute those responsible for ideologically driven acts of force and violence," said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis. "Our priority with acts of terrorism remains to be proactive and preventive but when attacks do occur, they will be pursued to justice. The Joint Terrorism Task Force partners remain steadfastly committed, and continue to work together daily here in Colorado and around the country to ensure that citizens of this country are safe from terrorist threats of all kinds."

Bond faces not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, for use of fire or explosives to damage and destroy property in interstate commerce. Bond also faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine for force, violence and threats involving an Animal Enterprise. He could also be ordered to pay restitution to the owner of the Sheepskin Factory.

This case was investigated by the ATF, FBI, Denver Fire Department, and the Glendale Police Department.

Bond is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Holloway.

July 26 post:

Walter Bond doesn't exactly hide his convictions when it comes to animal rights. Law-enforcement types note that he has "a prominent tattoo on his neck just below his chin that reads, 'VEGAN.'"

However, Bond is accused of doing more than simply sticking to salads. He's been formally charged with setting fire to a sheepskin factory in April -- and he's said to have told investigators of his desire to repeat the feat.

Walter Bond's criminal complaint details the April 30 fire at the Sheepskin Factory, 510 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale; a June blaze at a Salt Lake City, Utah leather factory; an early July conflagration at a Sandy, Utah restaurant that serves foie gras; and the information supplied by Bond during a sit-down at an East Colfax hotel. Here's a passage about the latter:

On July 22, 2010, at the direction of your Affiant, CI-01 met with Walter Edmund BOND at the Ramada Inn hotel located at 1150 E. Colfax Ave, Denver Colorado 80218. The meeting was consensually monitored and audio and video tape recorded by ATF. Your affiant and other investigators monitored the conversation and heard BOND state that he burned the Sheepskin Factory in Denver as well as a leather factory and a foie gras restaurant in Utah. BOND stated that he used the nickname "Lone Wolf" and these businesses all represented animals wolves typically hunt. BOND stated that at one time he lived near the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale and that it angered him that the business profited from animals. BOND further stated that the structure was "a box of matches" and he felt that it would easily burn. BOND stated that after he set the fire he watched it burn and saw fire trucks responding. BOND further stated that he intends to "torch" the Sheepskin Factory "in a couple of years" again since it is now reopened at another location.

Given his current legal situation, it'll take a lot of luck for him to make good on this last alleged goal. Look below to read a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, which details the potential sentence Bond could receive if convicted.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts