Man Charged With Burning Albany County GOP Headquarters Set For Court
The man charged with breaking into and burning the Albany County Republican Party Headquarters in September will hear the charge or charges against him during a hearing in federal court on Monday.
Kellen Michael “Van Gogh” Sorber, 27, surrendered to the Laramie Police Department on Thursday about the time the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced a $5,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.
The Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office charged him with one count of using fire to commit a felony, which is punishable by at least five years to 20 years imprisonment, according to the complaint written by an ATF agent.
The initial appearance is scheduled to be heard in Cheyenne via a telephone conference call with U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman from the Yellowstone Justice Center. However, U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl in Casper has been assigned the case.
The fire was reported at 3:25 a.m. Sept. 6, at the GOP headquarters, 214 E. Ivinson Ave. The Laramie Fire Department responded and extinguished it.
Investigators found two pieces of a cinder block inside and a third piece on a trash container in the alley, a partially consumed cigarette, the burnt remains of a folding camping-style chair, and burnt remnants of a soft drink can box, according to the criminal complaint.
The ATF laboratory was able to determine a dominant DNA profile.
Surveillance video also was able to help investigators identify a person of interest -- Sorber.
They began watching Sorber, and one was able to contact him and surreptitiously obtain DNA from a beer can he had. That DNA evidence was consistent with that found on the cigarette and the three pieces of cinder block.
An investigator determined that Sorber had his cell phone within one-tenth of a mile from a cell tower next to a cafe near the GOP headquarters.
On Oct. 16, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant and obtained DNA directly from Sorber.
On Oct. 23, a BATFE forensic biologist provided the agent with preliminary test results from the DNA obtained from Sorber was consistent from the DNA found on the cigarette, cinder block and other evidence.
The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the charge Tuesday, and filed a motion in federal court that he be detained.
But he apparently was never taken into custody and went missing from Tuesday to Thursday.