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Arizona man arrested for allegedly threatening to burn down courthouse

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – An Arizona man faces federal charges for allegedly threatening to burn down government buildings in the northern part of the state, authorities said Thursday.

Loren Reed, 26, of Page, was arrested Tuesday and charged with “using the internet and telephone to willfully threaten to unlawfully damage or destroy a building by fire,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, said in a press release.

The release didn’t mention a motive.

Reed is accused of encouraging people to bringing flammable material to the Page Magistrate Courthouse and discussing the use of Molotov cocktails.

Prosecutors say Reed created a private Facebook chat group and used it to try convincing people to riot at the courthouse and burn it and the Page Police Department office down.

A concerned citizen notified Page police, who worked with the FBI on the case, about Reed’s online activity on May 30.

Authorities then monitored activity in the chat, where Reed allegedly suggested carrying out his plans at 9 p.m. Tuesday. He was arrested at 7 that night.

If convicted, Reed faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Page is located near Lake Powell in Coconino County, not far from the Utah border.

The magistrate court has jurisdiction over traffic and criminal misdemeanor offenses in Page, plus violations of city code and ordinances.

It also has the authority to issue arrest and search warrants, orders of protection and harassment injunctions.

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