PROVIDENCE – A 23-year-old man who set three fires inside a Woonsocket mill-type building after breaking into the structure in April 2019, was sentenced today to five years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Jacob E. Lahousse previously admitted to a federal judge that he gained access to the building by climbing a ladder and entering the rear of the structure, and then set fires to the inside of a desktop computer on the basement level; to a piece(s) of fabric on the basement level; and to a loveseat in a first-floor office.
After receiving a fire alarm activation from the building, Woonsocket firefighters discovered smoke in the building and that water was flowing from sprinkler heads. They extinguished a small fire inside a desktop computer and smoldering papers on a desk. Investigators also observed evidence of forced entry, smashed computers, ransacked offices, and an attempted forced entry into a safe.
In the office that sustained fire damage a handwritten note was posted on the wall that stated, “[i]n case you decided 2 call the feds I got pics of the fam.” On the desk next to the note was an empty picture frame that previously contained a family photo.
Video surveillance shows Lahousse walking around the inside of building which, at the time, housed at least two business, collecting various items and placing them into bags. Two hours after entering the building, Lahousse is seen on surveillance video destroying several video surveillance cameras.
Lahousse pleaded on September 12, 2022, to a charge of arson. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., to sixty months of incarceration in federal prison to be followed by three years of federal supervised release. Additionally, the court ordered Lahousse to pay $333,333 in restitution for damages caused by his criminal actions.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dulce Donovan.
The matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Woonsocket Police Department; and the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office.