Man suspected of setting fire to prominent anti-abortion group in Madison arrested at Boston airport
A 29-year-old man was arrested at Boston Logan International Airport Tuesday on a charge related to the May 2022 firebombing of the office of a prominent anti-abortion group in Madison.
Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, a former Madison resident, was charged Monday with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive, accused by prosecutors of efforts to "terrorize" and "intimidate" by vandalizing and setting the offices of Wisconsin Family Action on fire.
According to a criminal complaint:
Certified fire investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives determined the fire, set on Mother's Day, May 8, around 6 a.m., was incendiary and started using an open flame to flammable vapors inside of a mason jar with cloth hanging out of it, which was "consistent with the appearance and components of a Molotov cocktail," the complaint states.
The arsonist also spray-painted the message, "If abortions aren't safe then you aren't either," along the side of the building.
Law enforcement recovered DNA from three individuals on the evidence, but a cross-check with law enforcement's DNA index system returned no matches.
More than eight months later in January 2023, law enforcement discovered graffiti from a recent protest near the State Capitol grounds that looked similar to the graffiti left at Wisconsin Family Action. The protest was in wake of the police shooting and killing a 26-year-old man in Atlanta.
Law enforcement then used surveillance footage around the Capitol and observed two suspects, with one seen spray-painting "We will get revenge." The two suspects were traced back to a nearby parking ramp and observed entering a white Toyota pickup truck. The license plate was registered to a person who is identified in the complaint as "Citizen 1." Law enforcement checks revealed that Roychowdhury resided at the same address as Citizen 1.
Earlier this month, law enforcement observed Roychowdhury driving the same white Toyata pickup truck with the same plates and decided to follow him.
Roychowdhury ultimately drove to a park-and-ride lot in Madison, where he discarded a bag of fast food into a trash can. Law enforcement then retrieved the bag out of the trash can. The DNA from the contents inside the bag matched the DNA recovered at Wisconsin Family Action, an ATF lab determined.
Later in March, Roychowdhury traveled from Madison to Portland, Maine, and purchased a one-way ticket from Boston to Guatemala City, departing Tuesday morning. Law enforcement arrested Roychowdhury at the Boston airport prior to the plane departing.
Roychowdhury served as a research assistant while a doctorate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his degree in May 2022. "He is no longer affiliated with the university," a spokesperson with UW-Madison said Thursday.
Roychowdhury was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Boston on Tuesday. A date for his appearance in federal court in Madison has not been set.
If convicted, Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Man suspected of arson in Madison arrested at Boston airport