KENOSHA — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives identified three new people of interest involved with the fires caused by the Kenosha unrest.
“We examined 32 scenes and determined 20 set incendiary fires of structures and seven of government owned vehicles,” Kristen Detineo, Special Agent in Charge for the Chicago Field Division of the ATF said. “There are a total of 27 arsons.”
Detineo says they now have 10 people of interest related to the fires, after identifying seven people Wednesday.
“The crime for setting arson on a federally owned vehicle, a government vehicle or a business carries at least five years in federal prison,” Detineo said.
The ATF’s National Response Team spent a little over a week in Kenosha to help with the investigation. The group has spent time at some of the largest catastrophes in American history to help better understand what happened.
“Think the Pentagon, World Trade Center or Oklahoma City,” J.D. Underwood, Special Agent in Charge said. “We average about 19 callouts per year. This year, Kenosha was number 17 of large scale fire and explosive incidents.”
Underwood specializes for the National Center for Explosives Training and Research in Huntsville, Ala. He’s spent a majority of the year traveling around the country to investigate scenes like the one in Kenosha; from Portland to Minneapolis and more.
“They are very, very similar [to Kenosha],” Underwood said. “Similar incidents. Similar ways fires are started with incendiary devices like Molotov cocktail devices thrown into structures.”
The ATF believes more people could be involved. Though their National Response Team is no longer in Kenosha, they could very well identify more people responsible. The ultimate goal is to hold all of those people accountable.
“Finding people who were responsible for setting fires and holding them accountable, I really hope would bring closure to these businesses,” Detineo said.
“Them being brought to justice is not going to do anything monetarily to help the business,” Jim Degrazio, Owner of Treasures Within said. “It’s hard. This is my only source of income.”
Degrazio’s store has been in Kenosha for 28 years. It’s evolved over the years to become a hobby shop of sorts for collectors and those interested in trinkets and decorations. On the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 25, he nearly saw his life’s work go up in flames.
“There was a livestream on the computer when everything was breaking loose in the city,” Degrazio said. “We actually saw next door, the windows and across the street, windows were shattered. Then I heard my alarm system going off on the livestream. Your stomach turned upside down. It was sickening.”
Degrazio made the decision to try and save his business that evening but he couldn’t get close enough. He felt it was in his best interest to let things transpire.
He noticed in the morning, his shop had been mostly spared. Windows were shattered and some items inside were stolen. In total, he estimates he has about $10,000 in damages and stolen merchandise. However, when he played back his surveillance cameras, he saw it could have been much worse.
“I consider myself very lucky,” Degrazio said. “They started two fires. One was put out by another protester and one was put out by an officer. We’re extremely lucky.”
People looked to set small fires in the front windows and light smoke filled the building. However, within minutes, the protester and law enforcement officer put the fires out, likely saving the building.
While his insurance won’t repay him for the damages he’s incurred, Degrazio is hoping the community he loves will help support him and the other businesses impacted by the unrest.
“Kenosha has an awesome community,” Degrazio said. “The community needs to stick together to get past all the adversity happenign with us. I don’t see any other way to win.”
If you recognize any of the people involved, the ATF asks you to contact them or local law enforcement.
Kenosha Police: 262-605-5203
ATF: 1-888-ATF-FIRE (283-3473)
ATF email: ATFTips@atf.gov