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Indian-American man pleads guilty to firebombing building

New York, Dec 4 (IANS) A 29-year-old Indian-origin man has pleaded guilty to firebombing an office building in the US state of Wisconsin in May 2022.

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, who was arrested from the Boston International Airport this year, was charged with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 14 next year, a Department of Justice release said.

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

According to court documents, law enforcement responded to an active fire at an office building located in Madison on May 8, 2022, at 6.06 a.m.

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”.

In March this year, law enforcement identified Roychowdhury as a possible suspect and collected his DNA from the food he threw in the trash can.

On March 17, 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, Roychowdhury travelled from Madison to Portland, Maine, and he purchased a one-way ticket from Boston to Guatemala City, departing March 28.

Law enforcement arrested him at Boston Logan International Airport that day.

Roychowdhury’s LinkedIn profile describes him as a “protein engineer and computational biologist”.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

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