| Crime |

Tucson Man, Shorted $200 for a Power-Washing Job, Convicted in Attacks Involving Chemicals, Feces, Dead Animals, and More

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

About four years ago, Todd Fries, the owner of Burns Power Washing, was shorted $200 for a power-washing job because his customers didn't think Fries' employees did such a great job.

Fries responded to this lack of payment by spreading 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.

A federal jury found Fries guilty today of "unlawful possession and use of a chemical weapon," as well as providing false information to the FBI.

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 was also 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 all 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 leaving an ID at the crime scene, then someone called the FBI pretending to be a woman and ratted out the guy whose ID Fries had left at the scene.

The chemical-weapon charge alone could land Fries in prison for life. His sentencing his scheduled for December 14.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.