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Police used DNA from a discarded burrito to catch a Wisconsin man accused of torching the offices of an anti-abortion lobbying group in 2022, according to officials.
In May 2022, a week after a draft decision leaked showing the US Supreme Court on the verge of overturning the right to an abortion under Roe v Wade, there was a fire at the offices of Wisconsin Family Action, a Christian-based lobbying group that advocates against abortion, vaccine mandates and same-sex marriage.
Police discovered materials for molotov cocktails at the scene of the office, as well as graffiti that read, “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.”
Local and federal officials spent months trying to track down a suspect without a lead, at one point offering a $25,000 reward for information.
Things changed in January 2023, when police monitoring protests at the Wisconsin state capitol saw graffiti that appeared similar to the messages written at Wisconsin Family Action after the fire, and saw a Toyota Tacoma pickup leaving the grounds.
Investigators matched the truck to Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, of Madison, and began surveilling him.
On 1 March, they observed him throw away a bag containing a burrito, according to court documents, which contained DNA matching material found at the site of the fire at the anti-abortion group.
On Tuesday, officials arrested Mr Roychowdhury at Boston Logan International Airport, where the man had a one-way flight booked to Guatemala, according to the Justice Department.
The Wisconsin man is charged with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or explosives, which could carry up to 20 years in prison.
It is unclear if Mr Roychowdhury has legal representation. A date for his appearance in federal court in Madison has not been set, per the DoJ.
“Violence is never an acceptable way for anyone to express their views or their disagreement,” FBI counterterrorism division director Robert R Wells said in a news release.
Anti-abortion groups have suffered likely attacks in New York, Oregon, Virginia and North Carolina in recent monts, according to the Washington Post.