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Indian American charged with firebombing building after his DNA on discarded burrito lead investigators to him

NRI Pulse Staff Report

An Indian-American man from Wisconsin was arrested this week on a charge related to the May 2022 firebombing of a Madison office building.

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, of Madison, Wisconsin, who is a former UW-Madison graduate trainee and research assistant, is charged with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive for the firebombing of a Wisconsin anti-abortion group, Wisconsin Family Action, after DNA on a discarded half-eaten burrito led investigators to him,  reports Wisconsin Right Now.

If convicted, Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

According to the complaint, on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, 2022, at approximately 6:06 a.m., law enforcement responded to an active fire at an office building located in Madison, Wisconsin. Once inside the building, police observed a mason jar under a broken window; the jar was broken, and the lid and screw top were burned black. The police also saw a purple disposable lighter near the mason jar. On the opposite wall from the window, the police saw another mason jar with the lid on and a blue cloth tucked into the top; the cloth was singed. The jar was about half full of a clear fluid that smelled like an accelerant. Outside of the building, someone spray-painted on one wall, “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” and, on another wall, a large “A” with a circle around it and the number “1312.” During the investigation, law enforcement collected DNA from the scene of the attack.

In March 2023, law enforcement identified Roychowdhury as a possible suspect. Local police officers observed Roychowdhury dispose of food in a public trash can; the officers recovered the leftover food and related items, and law enforcement collected DNA from the food. On March 17, 2023, law enforcement advised that a forensic biologist examined the DNA evidence recovered from the attack scene and compared it to the DNA collected from the food contents. The forensic biologist found the two samples matched and likely were the same individual.

In March 2023, Roychowdhury travelled from Madison, Wisconsin, to Portland, Maine, and he purchased a one-way ticket from Boston to Guatemala City, departing this morning. Law enforcement arrested Roychowdhury at Boston Logan International Airport. Roychowdhury will have a detention hearing in Boston.

A date for his appearance in federal court in Madison has not been set.

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