WEST JORDAN — A 21-year-old man was sentenced to prison Wednesday after admitting he intentionally started a fire at an area bank.
Joshua Raymond Townsend, 20, pleaded guilty to arson with intent to damage property and was ordered to spend five years in prison by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball. The judge also ordered the man to spend five years on supervised release and pay $592 in restitution.
Townsend said he made Molotov cocktails to throw at a Wells Fargo Bank, 2640 W. 9000 South, on Nov. 17. According to the federal complaint in the case, he purchased 5 pounds of a manufactured mixture of chemicals to make a bomb two months before the incident with the intention of blowing up a bank.
Instead of using the chemicals, Townsend used gasoline to make the Molotov cocktails. He then drove to Wells Fargo Bank, 2640 W. 9000 South, and sat for 90 minutes deciding whether to go forward with his plan, according the complaint. About 4:30 a.m., he called 911 and told an emergency dispatcher he was going to throw a Molotov cocktail at the bank, the complaint states.
The first gas bomb did not ignite, but the second one broke a window and ignited a bush. Townsend poured gas on the blaze, but it rapidly extinguished itself, according to the complaint.
Investigators said Townsend was walking back to his car for the explosive chemicals when he saw police arriving. He then sat on the hood and waited.
According to the complaint, Townsend admitted to buying, storing and making the materials used in the incident after his arrest.