RALEIGH, N.C. – A Raleigh man was arrested yesterday for setting fires inside two Raleigh businesses after a demonstration over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced.
Richard Rubalcava, of Raleigh, North Carolina, was arrested by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and is charged by complaint with two counts of maliciously damaging or destroying, or attempting to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building or other real or personal property affecting interstate or foreign commerce. Rubalcava will make his initial appearance June 19, 2020, by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II.
According to the complaint, on May 30, 2020, at approximately 12:13a.m., a fire was discovered at the Dollar General Express located at 149 East Davie Street, Raleigh, after it had been looted by rioters. Video surveillance was obtained from the Dollar General Express. The video shows Rubalcava enter the business and place numerous items in a Dollar General Bag. Rubalcava leaves and re-enters the business numerous times. Each time Rubalcava enters the business, he would steal items from the store. Further video surveillance captured Rubalcava inside the Dollar General Express setting fire to miscellaneous items located on an aisle endcap. Rubalcava appears to exit the store after setting the fire.
Additionally on May 30, 2020, video surveillance from Budacai Restaurant located at 120 East Martin Street, Raleigh, was given to the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) in regards to the restaurant being looted and a fire being set inside. After reviewing the video surveillance, RPD identified one of the subjects that entered the business as Rubalcava. The video surveillance showed Rubalcava entering the restaurant three times. The second time Rubalcava entered he stole the cash register. The third time Rubalcava entered he attempted to set a plant on fire inside the restaurant. After the plant would not ignite, Rubalcava ignited a towel and places the burning towel on a countertop. Surveillance video from both fires shows Rubalcava wearing the same clothing. Rubalcava admitted to RPD officers that he set the fire inside of Budacai Restaurant.
The counts charged in the criminal complaint carry a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina credited the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel W. Smith of the of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.