Emmett man pleads guilty to setting police cars on fire in 2017


An Emmett man has pleaded guilty to arson charges after setting four police cars on fire in 2017.

Darrel Rich, 68, pleaded guilty on Monday to damage by fire to vehicles owned by an institution receiving federal funding and damage by fire to vehicles used in interstate commerce, U.S. Attorney Bart Davis’ office announced in a release Tuesday.

The Idaho State Police, Gem County Sheriff’s Office, Emmett Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped with the investigation.

According to the release, Rich poured gasoline on the back of four Emmett Police Department cars and set them ablaze on July 26, 2017. Court documents said that the previous day, police had stopped at Rich’s residence. In a subsequent conversation with his sister, Rich said that police should “back off now or somebody is going to get hurt” and that if she “call[ed] the cops on me again. ... We’re done.”

Rich’s sentencing is set for May 7 at Boise’s federal courthouse.

Michael Katz covers breaking news at the Idaho Statesman. He attended the University of Southern California and grew up in Pasadena, California.