Fruitland man sentenced to 35 years for conspiracy, arson and theft

newsroom@idahostatesman.comAugust 6, 2013 

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced David Joseph VonBargen, 50, of Fruitland, to 35 years in prison.

VonBargen was convicted by a jury in April of carrying and using firearms – Molotov cocktails – during and in relation to a federal crime of violence, conspiracy to maliciously use explosive materials, conspiracy to maliciously damage federal property and theft of firearms.

Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered VonBargen to pay $162,124.87 in restitution to Western Core Door, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

During the five-day trial, the jury heard evidence that on May 27, 2011, VonBargen and his co-defendant, Donovan James Bolen, 23, also of Fruitland, schemed to set fires in Payette to divert law enforcement while they broke into the World’s Largest Pawn Shop, in Fruitland and stole firearms.

The jury found VonBargen guilty of using Molotov cocktails to set fire to two U.S. Department of Agriculture vehicles and a lumber warehouse belonging to Western Core Door, Inc., in Payette. The jury also found VonBargen guilty of burglarizing and stealing 12 firearms, including rifles, revolvers and pistols, from the World’s Largest Pawnshop.

A federal jury on Oct. 16, 2012, convicted Bolen of carrying and using firearms during and in relation to a federal crime of violence, conspiracy to maliciously use explosive materials, conspiracy to maliciously damage federal property, and theft of firearms. He was sentenced on Feb. 5 to 37 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $162,124.87 in restitution to Western Core Door, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Mr. VonBargen’s use of Molotov cocktails to divert the attention of law enforcement was unconscionable, endangered the lives of first responders, and destroyed the property of innocent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. “I commend the swift law enforcement response that brought both of the defendants in this case to justice. Mr. VonBargen now, like his co-defendant, faces a well-deserved lengthy prison sentence.”

The case was investigated by the Fruitland Police Department, the Payette Police Department, the Payette County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Idaho State Fire Marshal.

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