Apr 7, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Man arrested for alleged arson at Sen. Bernie Sanders' Vermont office

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Sen. Bernie Sanders appears during a news conference on Jan. 25. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A man was arrested Sunday for allegedly starting a fire at the Vermont office of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), according to federal officials.

The big picture: Police in Vermont had been searching for a suspect in connection with alleged arson following a small blaze on Friday. Sanders was not in the office at the time, per AP.

Zoom in: Shant Soghomonian, 35, has been charged with using fire to damage the Burlington building, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont said Sunday in a statement.

  • Soghomonian allegedly entered the building on Friday morning and went to the third floor where Sanders' office resides.
  • He was allegedly recorded on security video "spraying a liquid near the outer door of the office and then lighting the area with a handheld lighter."
  • The Justice Department said the employees inside the office at the time "were not physically injured during the incident."

In a statement shared with Axios, Sanders said he is "deeply grateful to the swift, professional, coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement in response to the fire at my Vermont office on Friday."

  • "I am also thankful that none of the many people who were in the office building at the time of the fire were injured," he added.

If convicted, Soghomonian could face five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

  • The suspect, whose counsel "has not yet been identified," is formerly of Northridge, California, per the DOJ.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a statement from Sanders' office.

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