Activist Pleads Guilty to McDonald’s Arson in Seattle

September 28, 2005
For Immediate release

Activist Pleads Guilty to McDonald’s Arson in Seattle

Seattle, WA: Animal rights activist Christopher McIntosh entered a guilty plea Monday to burning a McDonald’s restaurant on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. Fire broke out at the McDonald’s restaurant at 222 Fifth Ave. N. about 1:50 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2003, when the restaurant was closed.

McIntosh admitted he carried several gallons of gasoline onto the restaurant’s roof and set it on fire, causing $5,000 damage.

At 10:39 a.m. that same day, McIntosh placed an anonymous phone call to the Seattle arson tipline, stating, “[t]here was an E-L-F-A-L-F hit at McDonald’s across from the Space Needle. There will be more. … As long as mother Earth is pillaged, raped, destroyed. As long as McDonald’s keeps hurting our furry brothers, there will be more.”

Under a plea agreement, McIntosh, 23, of Maple Shade, N.J., faces eight to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 16. His attorney, Stephan Illa, said McIntosh was motivated to make a deal because the government threatened to invoke an anti-terrorism statute and seek a mandatory minimum of 30 years if he lost at trial.

The FBI estimates that animal-rights and environmental extremists have committed more than 1,100 criminal acts in the U.S. since 1976, resulting in damages “conservatively estimated” at $110 million, including attempted arsons at two McDonald’s in Chico, Calif., in March 2003 and a $500,000 arson at a Tucson, Ariz., restaurant in September 2001.