WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A man suspected of breaking into a manufacturing plant in Woonsocket and setting several fires earlier this year has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
According to the office of U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman, the grand jury handed up an indictment Tuesday charging Jacob Lahousse with arson.
Lahousse, 20, was arrested last Thursday and ordered held in federal custody.
Prosecutors allege Lahousse was responsible for a series of fires at Sports Systems Custom Bag Corporation in the early morning hours of April 5. Firefighters responded to the plant around 1:30 a.m. and quickly extinguished flames coming from a desktop computer in the basement and a stack of paper in a first-floor office.
Most of the fires were extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system prior to firefighters’ arrival, according to prosecutors.
Investigators found evidence of ransacked offices, smashed computers and an attempt to break open a safe, prosecutors said. According to court documents, surveillance video shows the suspect using a ladder to get inside the building then walking around and using bags to collect various items. At one point, the suspect is seen taking down an American flag, folding it in military fashion and placing it inside a backpack.
The suspect also disabled and destroyed several surveillance cameras, according to prosecutors.
Police were able to identify Lahousse as the suspect through tips from the public after surveillance images were posted on the Rhode Island Most Wanted website.