FBI offers $25,000 reward to help solve eco-terror arson case

New reward poster seeking tips in the 2003 arson fires in San Diego.

For the first time in nearly 14 years since the costliest eco-terrorism arson in U.S. history, the FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 in hopes of learning who set a San Diego housing project ablaze.

No one was injured in the 2003 incident, which caused an estimated $50 million in damage. The FBI will be advertising the reward on billboards and posters.

A loose-knit radical environmental group, the Earth Liberation Front, took responsibility for the fire — leaving hand-painted messages on bed sheets at the scene and claiming involvement on its website. But the individuals behind the crime have never been identified.

At 3 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2003, a five-story residential complex, framed and still under construction, was set ablaze. The arsonists left a message behind on sheets laid together on the ground: “If you build it — we will burn it. The E.L.F.s are mad.”


ELF, with members and cells nationwide, was known to target large developments in the name of protecting the land from urban sprawl.

Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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