Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Charges In Torching Of 125 SUVs
CBS News ^ | March 10, 2004

Posted on 03/10/2004 8:27:31 AM PST by presidio9

A California Institute of Technology graduate student has been arrested in connection with an August arson and vandalism spree targeting 125 sports utility vehicles at four car dealerships, the FBI said.

William Cottrell, 23, used an alias when he e-mailed The Los Angeles Times, claiming to be a member of the eco-terrorist group Earth Liberation Front and offering specific details to prove his involvement in the firebombings, the FBI said.

“The FBI hasn't seemed to pick up on any of them (clues), which makes this whole ordeal rather boring for us, the true culprits,” one e-mail boasted, the FBI said in an affidavit.

Authorities searched Caltech classrooms and tracked the e-mails to Cottrell, a grad student in the physics department, according to the affidavit. They also seized six computers from the campus.

Cottrell was arrested for investigation of arson and vandalism. He was ordered held without bail at a court hearing. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, the U.S. attorney's office said.

“The charges are unfounded,” defense attorney Stephen Alexander said outside court.

Cottrell's father described his son as bright, hardworking and somewhat eccentric but incapable of the acts alleged by the government.

“We were hopeful he wouldn't be charged,” Dr. William Milnes Cottrell said from his Concord, N.C., home. “We are very unhappy about it. We are still reasonably sure he wasn't a primary agent in this deed.”

Prosecutors estimate the total damage was about $2.3 million.

“Those who set fires, like those at the Hummer dealership in West Covina, are misguided zealots,” FBI Assistant Director Richard Garcia said in a statement.

The firebombing spree hit four car dealerships and at least four privately owned vehicles in communities east of Pasadena, where Caltech is located and where Cottrell was arrested.

The West Covina attack destroyed or damaged 72 vehicles, mostly SUVs, and a parts warehouse.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the e-mails the newspaper received began several weeks after the attacks, when the FBI arrested an environmental activist named Josh Connole in connection with the fires.

"Hello, the police have the wrong man here — I was amongst those responsible for the SUV attacks," read the first e-mail sent to the Times.

Connole was released without charges four days after his arrest. Connole told the Times that he hoped Cottrell's arrest would end any doubts about his innocence.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: domesticterrorism; ecoterror; lefties; suv

1 posted on 03/10/2004 8:27:32 AM PST by presidio9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: presidio9
Cottrell doesn't like SUV's?
Fine.

By the time he gets out of the slammer, there probably won't be any on the roads.

2 posted on 03/10/2004 8:33:35 AM PST by Redbob (ultrakonservativen click-guerilla)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

My suggestion for Mr. Cottrell's next place of residence.

3 posted on 03/10/2004 8:35:34 AM PST by presidio9 (FREE MARTHA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
Now that may be a little harsh don't you think? Perhaps they should offer him a plea bargin. You lead us back to the ELF and we'll go easy on you. We promise you only 10 years at the North Pole monitoring global warmings advancement.
4 posted on 03/10/2004 8:39:22 AM PST by marlon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
They get pretty serious about it, don't they?

SUV tagging and hunting


5 posted on 03/10/2004 8:42:10 AM PST by jwalburg (Gimli supports Bush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
Just think how 40 years in a prison cell will benefit the environment. He will use few fossil fuels, never drive a car, never take up more than 10 feet by 6 feet. He will get to share food and clothing. The only petroleum product he will need is Vaseline.
6 posted on 03/10/2004 8:43:09 AM PST by Blue Screen of Death (,/i)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Redbob
What a shame. Spend all that time trying to get rid of Hummers only to end up in jail giving them...

Don't drop the soap!
7 posted on 03/10/2004 8:45:04 AM PST by Guvmint_Cheese
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
You can read about young Billy The SUV Arson on Nospank.com.

They relate the story about how his father spent $80,000 to fix Billy's behavior problems.

DESPERATE MEASURES - Parents of Troubled Youths Are Seeking Help at Any Cost
By Sara Rimer
The New York Times, September 10, 2001

< snip >

...Parents say that it is painful to turn their children over to strangers, but that they feel they have no choice. "All of a sudden I was rationing out his care to different service agencies," said William Cottrell, 52, an anesthesiologist in North Carolina, who hired escorts to fly his 14-year-old son, Billy, from a wilderness therapy program in Idaho, where he had run away, to the Provo Canyon School, a hospital-like school in Utah.

Dr. Cottrell was relying on the guidance of Ms. Price, the consultant. "It just boiled down to the point where I didn't have too many options," he said. "It was a brave new world. I was trusting Ann Carol Price."

Dr. Cottrell and his wife divorced when their son was 9. The boy moved to Florida to live with his mother and soon began to have behavioral problems. Though he was an exceptionally bright boy, he was eventually kicked out of two public high schools and a military academy, where he burned a dollar bill in front of a captain.

"I was getting mentally exhausted," said Dr. Cottrell, who said his son's problems probably stemmed in part from the family's instability. And while he was an involved father, he said, he was also distracted by his medical practice.

"I taught all my kids how to read when they were 4," he said. "At the same time I was working long, hard hours. I was probably alienated from them."

Billy Cottrell, now 21 and in his final year at the University of Chicago, blames the public schools, where he says he was bored in the classroom and beaten up by his peers, for his problems. Acting out was his way of fighting back. "I found that getting in trouble, and rebelling, all of a sudden instead of getting beat up, you're admired by people," he said. "You're also fighting the school system, which you despise."

As proud as he is of his son's success in college, Dr. Cottrell recalls the embarrassment he felt about sending him to the Utah school. "I heard other parents saying, my kid's going to this private school, or that big- shot school, and my kid was going to some place no one ever heard of in Provo."

During the program, however, his son's behavior began to improve. He is to graduate from the University of Chicago next year with degrees in math and physics. He hopes to attend graduate school in physics.

Dr. Cottrell said he had no doubt the program was worth it. "Spending $80,000 was a no-brainer," he said.


8 posted on 03/10/2004 8:46:06 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: presidio9
Cottrell's father described his son as bright, hardworking and somewhat eccentric but incapable of the acts alleged by the government.

“We were hopeful he wouldn't be charged,” Dr. William Milnes Cottrell said from his Concord, N.C., home. “We are very unhappy about it. We are still reasonably sure he wasn't a primary agent in this deed.”

Funny how dear-old-dad is only "reasonably sure" his son wasn't the "primary agent in this deed". Even though just prior to that the same said parent said that the son was incapable of such illegal acts. I would say this doesn't bode well for this enviro-terrorist.

I hope that not only is this terrorist found guilty and receives the maximum penalty, I hope the dealerships sue him for every penny his daddy has put in his trust fund..... and a permanent lean on any future earnings.

Would be really cool if authorities found enough evidence to hold the other members of the same enviro-nazi group that this was supposedly also tied to. Find those who financially support these terrorists and charge them with terrorism.

Then again, maybe Homeland Security should step in and charge this creep with domestic terrorism and ship him off to Gitmo....

10 posted on 03/10/2004 9:01:36 AM PST by TheBattman (leadership = http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jwalburg
I want one of those stickers for my truck.
11 posted on 03/10/2004 9:01:38 AM PST by Britton J Wingfield
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Britton J Wingfield
I think they only do SUVs and only the really big monster gas guzzling ones. The smaller Suburban type things aren't worth their time, and probably not trucks either. But if you join their group, they'll probably give you a fistful of them.
12 posted on 03/10/2004 9:05:23 AM PST by jwalburg (Gimli supports Bush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: jwalburg
He should consider joining this group "The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement". We could use more chlorine in the gene pool....
http://www.vhemt.org/

Q: What is the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement?

VHEMT (pronounced vehement) is a movement not an organization. It's a movement advanced by people who care about life on planet Earth. We're not just a bunch of misanthropes and anti-social, Malthusian misfits, taking morbid delight whenever disaster strikes humans. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Voluntary human extinction is the humanitarian alternative to human disasters.

We don't carry on about how the human race has shown itself to be a greedy, amoral parasite on the once-healthy face of this planet. That type of negativity offers no solution to the inexorable horrors which human activity is causing.

Rather, The Movement presents an encouraging alternative to the callous exploitation and wholesale destruction of the Earth's ecology.

As VHEMT Volunteers know, the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens... us.

Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom.

When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth's biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Mother Nature's "experiments" have done throughout the eons. Good health will be restored to the Earth's ecology... to the "life form" known by many as Gaia.

It's going to take all of us going.

13 posted on 03/10/2004 9:34:54 AM PST by TMD (If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's free!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
I hope the FBI has more evidence than these E-mails. It seems like Cottrell has a need for attention that he is used to getting by acting out. It would be easy for him to be taking credit for someone else's nefarious deed just to get that attention.
14 posted on 03/10/2004 9:35:11 AM PST by nightdriver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nightdriver
Another article stated that his girlfriend identified him on the car dealership's security tape. She said it "looked like him," but I'm sure they'll be getting that tape enhanced for the prosecution.
15 posted on 03/10/2004 9:37:54 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Britton J Wingfield
I want one of those stickers for my truck.

LOL. I was thinking the same thing.

16 posted on 03/10/2004 9:41:48 AM PST by Professional Engineer (C'mon folks, get off your lazy esses. Two percent voter turnout is criminal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: TMD
That website makes me want to go home and impregnate my wife.
17 posted on 03/10/2004 9:47:25 AM PST by presidio9 (FREE MARTHA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
Arson and vandalism against SUVs? Shouldn't there be murder charges? Or at least animal cruelty? I mean, we all know SUVs have a mind of their own.
18 posted on 03/10/2004 9:51:03 AM PST by BykrBayb (Temporary tagline. Applied to State of New Jersey for permanent tagline (12/24/03).)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jwalburg
I think they only do SUVs and only the really big monster gas guzzling ones. The smaller Suburban type things aren't worth their time, and probably not trucks either. But if you join their group, they'll probably give you a fistful of them.

What do you want to bet they target vehicles that look like they belong to suburban moms, and not trucks that look like they belong to gun-totin', fist-packin', good ol' boys?

19 posted on 03/10/2004 10:22:19 AM PST by atomicpossum (Fun pics in my profile)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
"That website makes me want to go home and impregnate my wife."

That is such a great set-up for a joke but I'll be nice. :D
The line about burning Hummers, and giving them in prison is also classic.
Seriously though we all know this guy will get a slap on the hand in the CA courts, but I do hope Daddy has to pay damages. Sounds like this kid's been spoiled his whole life, and Daddy having to cough up 1.5 million seems like poetic justice.
I believe his Dad could have solved this problem when precious little Billy was in HS, by spending some quality time with him behind the woodshed.
20 posted on 03/10/2004 11:42:59 AM PST by rikkir (I thought of a great tag line today...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: presidio9; abbi_normal_2; Ace2U; Alamo-Girl; Alas; alfons; alphadog; amom; AndreaZingg; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
21 posted on 03/12/2004 10:32:20 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Guvmint_Cheese
You win the prize.
22 posted on 03/12/2004 10:43:09 PM PST by The Westerner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: farmfriend
BTTT!!!!!!
23 posted on 03/13/2004 3:07:51 AM PST by E.G.C.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
'Bout time ELF has been busy publishing many crimes done over the years.

One of the ex top ElF leaders now runs a vegan restraunt in Portland Oregon.
24 posted on 03/13/2004 3:14:44 AM PST by oceanperch (`It's A Boy Address:http://community-2.webtv.net/YaquinaBay/LangleyPortar)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
The Los Angeles Times reported that the e-mails the newspaper received began several weeks after the attacks, when the FBI arrested an environmental activist named Josh Connole in connection with the fires.

Connole was released without charges four days after his arrest. Connole told the Times that he hoped Cottrell's arrest would end any doubts about his innocence.

I remember Josh. While he may or may not be an arsonisit, he's still a d***head, imho.

Here's Josh hanging out with the ANSWER crowd.

Josh Conole and Emily Lutz

Josh will be speaking at the Hollywood March & Rally, Sunday, Sep 28, Noon, Assemble at Hollywood & Vine. End occupation Say NO to colonialism in Iraq, Palestine and everywhere.

25 posted on 03/13/2004 3:30:05 AM PST by csvset
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: csvset

FBI friging idiots arrested the WRONG man again

but let FBI agents get by with
outing our russian deep cover agents!


26 posted on 04/19/2005 12:07:58 AM PDT by nlcatter1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson