Todd Fries Going to Prison for Decorating Home of Non-Paying Customers with Chemicals, Feces, Dead Animals, and Swastikas
Todd Fries, also known as Todd Burns -- the owner of Burns Power Washing in Tucson -- was shorted $200 for a power-washing job four years ago, because his customers didn't think Fries' employees did such a great job.
Fries' response to this non-payment has earned him more than 12 years in federal prison.
Fries spread things outside the customers' home including (but not limited to) motor oil, grease, feces, dead animals, foam packing peanuts, spray-painted swastikas, and, on another occasion, "buckets of burning, gas-emitting" debris.
After the victims didn't send the final payment to Fries, the victims woke up on November 1, 2008, and found the strange mixture of greasy things, feces, and dead animals -- several of which were identified as woodpeckers -- spread across the driveway, leading to the front door. The garage door also was sealed shut with some sort of adhesive.
Police initially thought it was a hate crime, since swastikas and slurs were spray-painted on the house and driveway.
Nearly a year later, after the victims moved to another community, the Pima County Sheriff's Department got several calls about a chlorine smell and a "huge white cloud that enveloped the neighborhood," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Again, there was a slime made of grease, oils, and packing peanuts smeared in front of their house. Again, there were more dead woodpeckers and other assorted animal carcasses in the front yard. This time, the front door, windows, and garage door were sealed shut with expanding foam.
The chlorine smell turned out to actually be chlorine, which was produced by placing an acid and some other substance inside buckets left outside the victims' home.
Fries was busted after he left a man's ID card at the scene, then called the FBI -- pretending he was a Mexican woman -- tipping them off to the guy on the ID card.
That didn't work so well. Fries was convicted by a federal jury of "unlawful possession and use of a chemical weapon," as well as providing false information to the FBI. The 12-plus years in prison (151 months, to be exact) sounds steep, then consider this -- the chemical-weapon conviction alone could have landed him in prison for life.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.