Man Who Firebombed Anti-Abortion Group Gets Prison

Wisconsin man Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury gets 7.5 years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Apr 12, 2024 11:07 AM CDT
Burrito Leads Feds to Suspect in Firebombing of Anti-Abortion Group
Threatening graffiti is seen on the exterior of Wisconsin Family Action offices in Madison, Wis., May 8, 2022.   (Alex Shur/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)
UPDATE Apr 12, 2024 11:07 AM CDT

A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison for firebombing the office of an anti-abortion group in Madison in 2022, days after the leak of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, pleaded guilty in November to attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive, WMTV reports. He has been ordered to pay almost $32,000 in restitution to Wisconsin Family Action. He was arrested last year after DNA on a half-eaten burrito matched DNA found at the crime scene. Prosecutors described the attack as domestic terrorism. "The FBI will not stand for the use of violence or criminal activity to express personal views on any matter," FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said in a statement.

Mar 29, 2023 1:30 AM CDT

A man has been arrested in connection with last year's firebombing of a Wisconsin anti-abortion lobbying group's office, and authorities say it was a burrito that did him in. The timeline:

  • After the May 8 attack at Wisconsin Family Action in Madison, authorities pulled DNA from a Mason jar used in the Molotov cocktail attack as well as a lighter found at the scene and glass from a broken window. There were no hits found in a national database of DNA.
  • On January 21 of this year, however, Wisconsin State Police were monitoring a protest at the state Capitol building and saw people spray-painting in a "cursive-style writing" that was similar to vandalism found at the scene of the firebombing, where someone had spray-painted on a wall, "If abortions aren't safe then you aren't either."

  • Police used surveillance video from the scene of the protest to identify the owner of a white pickup truck seen leaving a parking garage near where the spray-painting had been taking place. That person lived at an address belonging to Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, NBC News reports.
  • Earlier this month, law enforcement officers who were tailing Roychowdhury waited for him to toss a fast food bag containing a partially eaten burrito in a trash can. They recovered it, sent it to an ATF lab to be swabbed, and found DNA on the burrito that matched the DNA found at the crime scene, authorities say.
Roychowdhury was arrested Tuesday at Boston Logan International Airport after buying a one-way ticket to Guatemala City. He was charged with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. (More Wisconsin stories.)

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