A federal court Thursday ruled there is probable cause to believe that Spencer Wayne Allen, 25, on Tuesday maliciously damaged the U.S. Navy and Marine Recruitment Center by fire, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
Allen made his initial court appearance Wednesday before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller. On Thursday, after a preliminary hearing, the court found that there was probable cause to believe that Allen committed the offense and ordered Allen detained pending trial.
According to the complaint, the 911 emergency call center received a call about a fire at the Nisky Shopping Center in the early morning hours Tuesday. At the scene, the V.I. Police Department and Fire Service found the U.S. Navy and Marine Recruitment Center engulfed in flames, destroying the recruitment center.
Police and fire units also responded to two related fires: one at the Ron De Lugo Federal Courthouse and another at the U.S. Coast Guard Station.
According to Sharpe, arson – or maliciously damaging federal property by means of fire – carries a sentence of not less than five years in prison and up to a maximum term of 20 years.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Department of Homeland Security, with the assistance of the Virgin Islands Territory Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Police Department, and the Virgin Islands Fire Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tasheika Hinson.