Raleigh man indicted on federal charges for setting fires in stores during May riots

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh man who was previously arrested and charged for setting fires inside two businesses in downtown Raleigh following protests over the death of George Floyd has now been indicted, according to the United States Department of Justice.

Richard Rubalcava, 26, was arrested by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) on June 18.

Rubalcava was 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, the DOJ said.

Special coverage: George Floyd protests

On Wednesday, the DOJ announced that Rubalcava had been indicted.

According to court documents, surveillance video from May 30 inside Budacai Restaurant located at 120 East Martin Street was given to the Raleigh Police Department regarding the restaurant being looted and a fire was set inside.

Court documents state that the video shows Rubalcava entering the restaurant three times.

The second time Rubalcava entered the restaurant he stole the cash register, and the third time he attempted to set a plant on fire inside the restaurant, court documents show. The plant didn’t catch fire, so Rubalcava grabbed a towel, lit it on fire and set it on the counter top.

According to the DOJ, Rubalcava admitted to RPD that he set the fire inside the restaurant.

Rubalcava is currently behind bars without bond in the Wake County Detention Center under a federal inmate hold.

Rubalcava is also facing multiple charges in Wake County. On June 6 he was charged with felony inciting to riot, attempted second-degree arson, and felony trespass during emergency. On June 13 he was charged with first-degree arson, felony inciting to riot, and possess marijuana up to 1/2 oz.

All charges except the marijuana charge date back to incidents that occurred during the protests.

The counts charged in the indictment carry a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000, according to the DOJ.

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