Gilchrist Fire Arrests
Dave Zarifis, director, UNI Department of Public Safety, (319) 273-2712
James O'Connor, University Marketing and Public Relations, (319) 273-6728
Four arrests made in connection with 2005 UNI campus fires
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- A series of arrests were made today in the ongoing investigation of three separate fires set in University of Northern Iowa buildings on Oct. 16, 2005. Four suspects were arrested, two in West Des Moines and two in Cedar Falls.
Charged with three counts each of first-degree arson, and one count each of second-degree arson, are Aaron Scott Lessmeier, 21; and Tanner James Wilkens, 24. Both men live in West Des Moines.
Charged with one count each of perjury are Paul Joseph Cain, 24; and Randy Joseph Wilkens, 21. Both Paul Cain and Randy Wilkens live in Cedar Falls and are UNI students.
The four men are in custody awaiting initial hearings. The investigation continues.
First-degree arson is a class-B felony and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Second-degree arson is a class-C felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine ranging from $500 to $10,000. Perjury is a class-D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine ranging from $500 to $7,000.
Between midnight and 1:15 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005, fires were set in UNI's Lang Hall, Baker Hall and Gilchrist Hall. While damage was minimal in Lang and Baker halls, Gilchrist Hall, UNI's main administration building, remains closed. The cost of restoring Gilchrist Hall is estimated at $10.2 million. For more information about the fires and damage to Gilchrist Hall, see http://www.uni.edu/pubrel/gilchrist.shtml.