A Wisconsin man was arrested at a Boston airport with a one-way ticket to Guatemala a year after a fire bombed an anti-abortion group.
Hridindu Sankar Roychaudhary, 29, of Madison, was arrested at Boston Logan International Airport on Tuesday by the US Attorney’s Office in Madison after DNA from a half-eaten burrito linked him to the crime.
He was charged with attempting to cause damage by fire or an explosive device. He made his first appearance in federal court in Boston on Tuesday.
If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison.
Federal agents have been searching for him for nearly a year for throwing a pair of Molotov cocktails into the Wisconsin Family Action office in Madison on May 6, 2022. One petrol bomb failed to ignite, and the other set the bookcase on fire.
The message “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you” was spray painted on the outside of the building.
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Hridindu Sankar Roychaudhary, 29, of Madison, was arrested at Boston Logan International Airport on Tuesday by the US Attorney’s office in Madison. He was charged with attempting to cause damage by fire or an explosive device
Federal agents had been searching for him for nearly a year for throwing a couple of Molotov cocktails into the Wisconsin Family Action office in Madison on May 6, 2022 (pictured). One of the incendiary bombs failed to ignite; The other set fire to the bookcase
This past January, police tasked with protecting the Capitol Building in Madison reviewed a video protesting police brutality. The footage showed several people spraying graffiti on the Capitol Building that resembled graffiti in the Wisconsin Family Action office.
The footage showed two people leaving the area in a white pickup truck, which investigators tracked to Roychoudhury’s home in Madison, according to the complaint. Then the police started chasing him.
On March 1, detectives witnessed the suspect enter Madison Park and throw a bag of junk food. After he left, the police pulled the bag’s contents, including a partially eaten burrito wrapped in waxed paper, from the trash can.
Seventeen days later, the DNA found in the burrito was found to match DNA taken from the Wisconsin Family Action office, according to the complaint.
The message: “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you” was spray painted on the outside of the building.
The antifa symbol was also sprayed on the building (pictured).
According to the criminal complaint filed against Roychowdury, investigators pulled DNA samples from three individuals from evidence at the site of the Wisconsin attack. But the samples did not match any profiles in the US Department of Justice’s DNA database.
The first swab of DNA—identified as male 1—was found on the cocktail jar, the lighter inside, and the cloth. But since it was not in the national database, it caused federal and local authorities to spend months searching for Roychowdury.
The complaint said investigators were unable to match the other two DNA profiles from the scene with anyone.
The US Attorney’s office said in a statement that Roychowdhary traveled from Madison this month to Portland, Maine. The office said he had a one-way ticket for a flight from Boston to Guatemala City, which was scheduled to depart Tuesday morning when he was arrested.
Roychaudhary was a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but quit after the attack.
The attack came about a week after a draft opinion was leaked suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.
The release of abortion rights supporters sparked protests across the country. Two Catholic churches in Colorado were vandalized in the days leading up to the Madison bombing. Someone threw Molotov cocktails at the office of an anti-abortion organization in suburban Salem, Oregon, several days later.
The Court formally overturned Roe v. Wade in June, reinstating Wisconsin’s 1849 ban on abortion.
The damage was discovered on Mother’s Day morning when a passerby called the police and reported seeing smoke billowing from the anti-abortion group’s headquarters.
The antifa symbol – a large “A” inside a circle – was also written on the wall, as well as the numbers 1312 – a code for the letters ACAB, which stands for “All Cops Are Bastards”.
The damage was discovered on Mother’s Day morning when a passerby called the police and reported seeing smoke billowing from the anti-abortion group’s headquarters (pictured)
Jolene Appling, president of the Wisconsin Family Movement, told L.L.C Wisconsin Journal By the time a window was smashed, books were burnt, and there were graffiti on the walls.
“What you’re going to see here is a direct threat to us,” Appling told the newspaper at the time. Imagine if someone was in the office when this happened. They could have been injured.
As time went on, Appling offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. She accused Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Madison Police Chief Sean Barnes of being more interested in sympathizing with abortion rights activists than bringing any suspects to justice.
Appling had no comment on Tuesday on Roychowdhury’s arrest.
“I am very proud of the tireless and determined efforts of the combined federal, state and local team to identify and arrest this individual,” said William McCree, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Explosives Division at St. Paul Field, which deals with crime in Wisconsin. “It gives me great pleasure to see that this alleged perpetrator has been taken into custody.”