A white woman was arrested yesterday on five federal accounts of arson for allegedly setting five Seattle Police Department cars on fire during George Floyd protests in the city.
Margaret Aislinn Channon, 25, was arrested by federal authorities wearing full SWAT gear from her home in Tacoma after investigators say she was recorded setting fires in the vehicles by multiple cameras at the end of May.
US Attorney Brian T. Moran said Channon used some kind of flammable spray to start the fires.
‘This defendant was captured by multiple cameras using an accelerant, lit like a blowtorch, to start fires in five vehicles — putting the public at risk and creating the very real possibility of a structure fire amidst the throng of people protesting downtown,’ Moran said.
In her indictment, investigators recorded extensive details of the arsonist’s appearance.
‘She was wearing a white and black striped scarf-type face covering, a black shirt, black pants, light colored socks (that were mismatched), and black shoes,’ the indictment reads.
They noted that throughout the attacks the woman was wearing a stripy black t-shirt over her face.
Owing to ‘high-quality’ photographs taken by SPD at the scene, investigators were able to pick out a ‘distinctive’ tattoo of the woman’s left hand.
‘She had the letters “W-A-I-F” tattooed on the fingers of her left hand… The letters were oriented such that the bottom of the letters faced towards her fingertips,’ the indictment reads.
‘Also visible on the suspect’s left hand was a heart tattoo on her middle finger between the “A” and the fingertip.’
Channon’s tattoos were linked to a missing person’s case from Texas in 2019.
They found her social media accounts and then her address. After raiding the Tacoma home, investigators kept articles of clothing seen in the CCTV footage for evidence.
According to the indictment, three Seattle Police Department vehicles were targeted, including a Ford Transit Connect van, 2006 Dodge Caravan, 2009 Chevrolet Express van, which were unmarked but did contain a police radio. The other two vehicles were typical patrol cars.
Four of the vehicles were burned down to their metal frames. The other vehicle is also totaled but damaged less.
Felony arson carries a maximum 20-year sentence.
‘While we stand by every American’s Constitutional right to protest, when someone turns to violence, we will work tirelessly to investigate their crimes,’ Jonathan Blais, ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge, told KomoNews.
‘We are working shoulder-to-shoulder with our local, state and federal partners to bring those responsible for actions such as this to justice.’