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

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DENVER -- Walter Bond, age 34, was arrested last night by Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for the April 30, 2010 arson of the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, Colorado, United States Attorney David Gaouette, ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson, FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis, and Glendale Police Chief Victor Ross announced. Bond, who is charged with one count of arson of property affecting interstate commerce, is scheduled to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver at 2:00 p.m. July 23, where he will be advised of the charges pending against him, and the related penalties for that crime.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on April 30, 2010, a fire occurred at the Sheepskin Factory located at 510 South Colorado Boulevard, in Glendale, Colorado. The business sells a variety of sheepskin products, including seat covers, shoes, rugs and blankets via their store and internet, meaning the products travel within interstate commerce. The fire destroyed the building and its contents, resulting in approximately $500,000 in damages.

Bond stated that he used the nickname "Lone Wolf" and that he burned the Sheepskin Factory in Denver as well as a leather factory and restaurant in Utah. The defendant further noted that these businesses all represented animals wolves typically hunt. He said that at one time he lived near the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, and that it angered him that the business profited from animals. Bond then said that the structure was a "box of matches" and he felt that it would easily burn. He allegedly watched the business burn and saw fire trucks responding. He also said he intended to "torch" the Sheepskin Factory "in a couple of years" again since it is now reopened at another location.

The affidavit noted that someone using the nickname "ALF Lone Wolf" posted on an internet site the following text: "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!"

"Thanks to the hard work of the ATF and FBI, a serial arsonist has been arrested," said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette.

"Arson is a serious and potentially deadly crime that impacts an entire community," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson. "ATF is committed to pursuing arsonists that endanger firefighters and communities by their senseless acts of violence."

"Terrorism in the name of animal rights is every bit as dangerous and destructive as the other threats facing our country today," said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis. "The actions of Mr. Bond resulted in significant property damage and worse, could have resulted in the loss of life. The FBI, along with the ATF and our other Joint Terrorism Task Force partners are committed to working together to ensure that citizens of this country are safe from terrorist threats of all kinds."

If convicted of arson of property affecting interstate commerce, Bond faces not less than 5 years, and not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.

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.

A criminal complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of a federal felony crime has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.

The charges contained in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

On the next page is the actual criminal complaint from the case.

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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