VBFD’s Accelerant Detecting Canine Sniffs Out Arsonist in the Caribbean

Monday, March 05, 2018

A 26-year old man, Spencer Wayne Allen, who moved from Texas to the U.S. Virginia Islands has discovered that not only is the law's reach long, in some cases, so is its' nose.  Last year the Virginia Beach Fire Department was asked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to could send their accelerant sniffing canine, "Sadie" and her handler, Virginia Beach Fire Investigator Alana Cooper to St. Thomas where three federal buildings were burned by fires that appeared to be intentionally set.  After flying from Virginia Beach to the USVI, Sadie and investigator Cooper went right to work, with Sadie indicating that her keen sense of smell detected the presence of a ignitable liquids at the fire scene.

After about a year of investigation by ​federal, and local authorities, and after lab results of the evidence found by Sadie, Allen admitted to setting the fires that destroyed a military recruiting office and two other federal properties one of which was a United States Courthouse in the territory.  Allen entered a plea agreement last week that requires a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40-years on the arson count and up to 10-years in prison on each of the two destruction of federal property counts. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meredith Edwards and Everard Potter.

If you would like to meet Investigator Cooper and her partner "Sadie" to learn more about this case please contact Art Kohn using the information listed above. 

Photos:  Contact Art Kohn, 757-374-7978 akohn@vbgov.com ​