He changed his mind at the last minute, but it may have been too late.
Jonathan Harold Irwin Levenson, a former Maricopa County, Ariz. Constable for the Kyrene Justice Court, was arrested and faces charges of conspiracy to commit arson of an occupied structure, conspiracy to commit fraud schemes and false reporting to law enforcement.
“Levenson was conspiring with other individuals to burn down his home for the insurance money,” said Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal. “It would add to the ruse that it was hate-motivated.”
The arrest came after a four-month investigation that began when detectives became aware that Levenson, 30, contacted several people asking them to help him burn down his house.
According to police the plan was as follows: Levenson would be out of town while his house was ablaze. He wanted the fire to occur in conjuction with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Levenson requested that his conspirators deface his home with anti-Semitic symbols before buring it, to give the appearance of a hate crime.
Months earlier, on May 15, Levenson called police claiming someone had spray painted “Jew” on his car. Levenson, however, had no evicence of the alleged vandalism, telling police he washed the paint off his car before realizing he should have taken photos for the report. On June 30, he made a similar report to police, claiming that someone had painted anti-Semitic symbols on his house. Police suspect the reports were attempts to make a hate-based arson fire at his house look legit.
After his arrest, Levenson told police he had conspired with others to burn down his house and collect the insurance money, however, he said he decided to not follow the plan through.
None of Levenson’s conspirators have been charged with any crimes, and Carbajal said he expects no additional arrests.
Sources: Phoenix New Times and MyFoxPhoenix.com