Two more local men federally charged in riot related arson fires

Two Twin Cities men are the latest in over a dozen people federally charged with arson, and the ATF is offering rewards for information on others still wanted.

A Maplewood man and a Minneapolis man have each been federally charged in separate arson fires that occurred during the Twin Cities riots that followed the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody in late May. The ATF also announced more rewards on Wednesday for information leading the identification of several other suspects.

US Attorney for the District of Minnesota, Erica MacDonald, announced charges this week against Mohamed Hussein Abdi, 19, of Maplewood, and Matthew Scott White, 31, of Minneapolis, for arson fires at Gordon Parks High School and Enterprise Rent-a-Car, both located in St. Paul.

Charges against Abdi say that on May 28, Gordon Parks High School suffered damage due to fire and vandalism. Surveillance cameras inside the school captured footage of Abdi and another person intentionally setting a fire in the cafeteria. 

The footage shows Abdi reaching through a broken glass door and pouring a clear liquid from a white container on the floor of the cafeteria. Abdi then entered the cafeteria and poured more clear liquid onto the floor and into a trashcan and ignited a fire in the trashcan using a liquid-soaked garment. The footage shows Abdi running from the building as flames and black smoke erupt from the trashcan.

According to the allegations against White, on May 28, an Enterprise Rent-A-Car building was completely destroyed due to fire. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) subsequently examined the scene and determined that the fire was caused by arson and originated from within the structure. 

ATF investigators were able to identify White, his sister and co-conspirator Jessica White, and another individual captured on surveillance video footage from cameras located inside and outside of the business on the night of the arson. White can be seen in the footage entering the business and remaining inside for several minutes. Jessica White can be seen standing outside the business, knocking on the front window and looking into the front door. 

Related: Andover woman federally charged with arson of St. Paul car rental agency

While inside, Matthew White can be seen in the surveillance video carrying a box and a garbage can into the back area of the business, out of the view of the camera. Shortly after, fire can be seen flickering in the reflection of the window in the front of the business. Matthew White and the other individual were seen on video exiting the building and joining Jessica White and others gathered outside of the business watching the fire.

Abdi has been charged with one count of Arson and White has been charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson. Both Abdi and White made court appearances in federal court on Tuesday.

Related: ATF Seeks Info About Two Persons of Interest Related to Twin Cities Arsons

Over a dozen people have been federally charged to date related to the arson fires, and most are from the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, according to an update on the ATF’s website.

The ATF posted a new series of photos on Wednesday seeking more persons of interest and offering rewards of up to $5,000 for information (below).

More photos can be seen on the ATF’s website. Anyone with information on the identification and/or whereabouts of any of these individuals is asked to contact ATF. The preferred method for reporting information is by emailing ATFTips@atf.gov or submitting information via www.ReportIt.com or the Report It mobile app. Tipsters can also call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477) if internet access is unavailable.

Stay with Alpha News for updates on additional state, local and federal charges as they develop.

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