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Tucson man faces life in prison for chemical attack

A Tucson business man is facing life in prison after being convicted of using a chemical attack to terrorize a couple.

The couple hired Todd Fries, who owns Burns Power Washing, in 2008 to work on the driveway of their Tucson home. After Fries’ crew finished, the couple was dissatisfied with the work and stopped payment on the final $200 they owned the company.

“After cancellation of the check, the victims were subject to two attacks,” said Bill Solomon with the U.S. Department of Justice. “In the first attack, the victims woke up to find motor oil, paint, grease, feces, dead animals — including woodpeckers — and foam packing peanuts had been strewn on the driveway, leading to the front door of their home.”

Fearing for their safety, the couple moved to a gated community. On Aug. 9, 2009, authorities received several calls of a strong chemical odor in the neighborhood. After evacuating, authorities searched the area around the couple’s home.

“Deputies found buckets of burning, gas-emitting debris and a viscous, slimy material which appeared to a combination of paint, motor oil and foam peanuts,” said Solomon. “The front door, windows and garage doors were all sealed shut with a foam-expanding seal.”

Police linked Fries with materials found at both scenes.

Fries was convicted of unlawful use of a chemical weapon, which carries a maximum life sentence, $250,000 fine or both, and giving a false statement, which has a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Fries is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 14.