Persons of interest ID'd in governor's mansion arson

Authorities have identified three persons of interest in the 2008 arson fire at the Texas Governor's Mansion and they're offering a $50,000 cash reward for information that could help them lead to an arrest or conviction.

February 17, 2011 1:58:18 PM PST
The Texas Rangers say they've got a person of interest in the 2008 arson fire of the Texas Governor's Mansion, but they're offering a big reward for information that could give them information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

The Rangers collected and reviewed surveillance video footage from 11 separate cameras and found a video segment of a suspicious vehicle, a white Jeep Cherokee, whose occupants were observed taking photos of the Governor's Mansion at approximately 2am on June 4, 2008, four days before the fire at the mansion, which was sparked by Molotov cocktails.

Investigators were able to locate the vehicle and its driver, who admitted driving the Jeep while photos were being snatched. Detectives then tracked down the two other passengers in the car. They initially denied being in the Jeep, but later admitted to photographing the mansion after failing a polygraph exam.

All three have denied involvement in the mansion fire, but at least one of them has been traced to the downtown area on June 8, the morning of the fire.

Detectives also have linked the persons of interest to an Austin-based anarchist group which had planned an attack involving Molotov cocktails on the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in September 2008.

However, investigators still need more information about the arson in order to secure an arrest warrant, and they're offering a $50,000 cash reward for the tips.

Anyone with information that could be helpful to investigators is urged to call 1-800-252-TIPS (8477) or text "DPS plus your tip" to 274637 (CRIMES). A tip also can be submitted online here.

All calls or texts are anonymous. Any reward would be paid in cash.