On Tuesday last week, Minneapolis fire crews responded to a vehicle fire located on the 3100 block of Oliver Avenue North in Minneapolis. The dispatch audio indicated that the fire may be threatening a nearby structure. Upon arrival of police on scene they determined they needed to make an arrest, per dispatch audio.
Serial arsonist Alan Theodore Enger, 54, was taken into custody and booked into Hennepin County Jail.
When fire investigators arrived they found the victim arguing with Enger about why he had started the victim’s vehicle on fire. Enger stated “because that is what you get when you f*ck with me.” When officers took Enger into custody he kept “referring to himself as an arsonist,” according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint states that officers spoke with victim who stated that he got into an argument with Enger before leaving the house, and when he returned, the truck was on fire. Fire investigators found four small gas cans next to the truck, “pour patters” were located in the truck’s bed, and a combustible gas detector retuned a 100% indication of accelerant use in the truck bed. There were no burn patters in the engine compartment of the car or on the car’s hood, which indicated the fire was not due to engine failure. Fire investigators estimated the damage to the car as over $2,500.
Enger has four prior arson convictions in Hennepin County stretching back as far as the early to mid-1980s which have earned him several stints in prison. Enger has a well-documented history as a drinker and firebug in northeast Minneapolis. Law enforcement reportedly has a list of dozens of fires they suspect Enger of setting dating back into the 1970s.
Interspersed between the prison stints for arson, Enger has served time for other offenses ranging from several DUIs, robbery, violate an order for protection, assault, controlled substance, damage to property and other traffic-related violations encompassing over two dozen cases.
By 2005, Enger was incarcerated for his fourth arson conviction and sentenced as a “career offender” with the court citing “that he [was] a danger to public safety based on his past criminal behavior” and two or more prior violent convictions. Under Minnesota statute he was sentenced to 120 months for 2nd degree arson. Enger appealed the sentence in 2006 as unconstitutional and received a reversal and reduction from the court setting the community on edge.
Since Enger’s 2012 release from prison, he’s has had several arrests and convictions including two gross misdemeanor convictions for DWI – refusal to submit to chemical test, and a conviction for damage to property in 2015. Enger has received reduced sentences on all of these recent convictions.
Following last week’s arrest, Enger was charged with 2nd degree arson and is in custody on $40,000 bail. Enger also has a warrant for failure to appear in court on a 2016 case for disorderly conduct. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 3.
Follow the case: Hennepin County 27-CR-19-10772
Photo credit: 2015 BustedMugshots.com
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