FBI Offers Reward In Orange County GOP Firebombing Case

The Latest:

On the one-year anniversary of the firebombing that happened at the Orange County Republican Party headquarters, the Charlotte Division of the FBI and the Hillsborough Police Department continue to seek information from the public to help identify the person or persons responsible.

The headquarters was located at 347 Ja-Max Drive and sustained heavy damage inside when Molotov cocktail type devices were thrown through the front window of the building. No one was inside at the time and the fire burned itself out before spreading to any other buildings.

Graffiti stating, “NAZI REPUBLICANS LEAVE TOWN OR ELSE,” was spray painted on the side of an adjacent building.

The investigation identified a vehicle traveling into the Daniel Boone shopping center at approximately 2:55am on October 16, 2016. The vehicle bypassed all businesses open at that time of night and traveled in the direction of the Orange County GOP office. The timing of this observation is consistent with witness testimony as to when the fire was likely initiated. Prior to making a right hand turn into the shopping center, the vehicle was traveling north on NC-86 and passed under I-85. Anyone who may have seen a car traveling in that area in the early morning hours, should contact law enforcement.

Investigators are also seeking information to determine whether or not there could be a connection to a vandalism that occurred in Carrboro, NC in September of 2015. The known victim of this vandalism was an outspoken activist and may have been targeted by the same individual(s) who conducted the arson in Hillsborough, NC.

The Hillsborough Police Department, FBI, SBI, Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Secret Service are working jointly on the investigation. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to solving the crime.

Anyone with information about the crimes described above is asked to call FBI Charlotte at (704) 672-6100. Option #2.

Original Story October 18, 2016:

CHARLOTTE, NC — No arrests Monday in the firebombing at an Orange County, North Carolina Republican Party’s headquarters, but the Town of Hillsborough has released the 911 call reporting the incident.

Monday, election officials across the state are trying to balance keeping voters safe while not discouraging people coming out to vote.

The disturbing images of the burnt out party offices are getting attention nationwide.

“It wakes you up,” said Mecklenburg County Republican Party Chair Claire Mahoney.

The explosive attack on the Hillsborough Republican party office has the Mecklenburg County Republican Party working closer with CMPD on security here.

“I’m not going to talk specifically about what our measures are,” said Mahoney. “I don’t think that would be wise, but rest assured, we are protecting our volunteers.”

Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping police in Hillsborough follow up on tips and gather surveillance footage in the area.

Monday, officers released the 911 call.

“I see flames, but I’m not going over there and sticking my head in the window. But, I smell smoke,” the caller told the dispatcher.

Investigators believe someone threw a flaming bottle through the office window between midnight and 8:54 in the morning Sunday.

Across the street, at the 911 caller’s business, graffiti spray painted on a wall said “Nazi Republicans, leave town or else”.

“This will be the first and last time,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “That’s my goal.”

Governor McCrory says he’ll use every resource he has to catch whoever is responsible and to deter copy cats.

“Let’s keep it at this,” said Gov. McCrory. “No one was hurt. We’re going to investigate it thoroughly.”

Mecklenburg County Republican and Democratic leaders agree that this was an attack on democracy.

“Actions like this not only are they done to silence opposing views, they’re done to divide us,” said Mahoney.

“It doesn’t matter what political party you may be affiliated with, this is deplorable action,” said Mecklenburg County Democratic Party Chair Matthew Newton.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections Director Michael Dickerson says law enforcement will be at each polling location when early voting starts Thursday.

“You do have a lot of people that are proactively making certain that these things don’t happen here,” said Dickerson.

Democrats and Republicans alike say the attack won’t scare voters away.

“We hope that an act like this discourages nobody from getting to the polls and voting,” said Newton.

“Of course not,” said Mahoney. “In fact, it may have the opposite effect.”

The damage was enough to cause a Democrat all the way in Massachusetts to raise more than $13,000 in 40 minutes to repair the building. He says it was gesture to show this won’t divide.