PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Authorities charged a Philadelphia woman in the arson of two Philadelphia Police Department vehicles during the unrest in the city that began last month. Thirty-three-year-old Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal is currently in federal custody after being charged with arson.
Officials say Blumenthal was caught on video “wearing protective goggles and gloves, taking a flaming piece of wooden police barricade from the rear window of the PPD sedan that was already on fire and then shoving the flaming wood into the PPD SUV that was not on fire,” on May 30 — following peaceful protests in response to the killing of George Floyd.
In a matter of minutes, the police department SUV was completely engulfed in flames. As a result, both police vehicles were destroyed.
The civil unrest following the peaceful protest resulted in widespread looting, burglary, arson, destruction of property and other violent acts.
“We at the U.S. Attorney’s Office fully support the First Amendment right of the people to assemble peaceably and to petition their government. But torching a police car has nothing to do with peaceful protest or any legitimate message. It is a violent and despicable act that will be prosecuted in this District to the fullest extent of the law,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said. “Anybody who engaged in such acts can stand by to put your hands behind your back and head to federal prison. We are coming for you.”
Blumenthal had her initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday.
Officials will be filing a motion for the defendant to be detained pending trial.