RALEIGH — Nine months after an arson attempt at a Lincolnton pregnancy center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the suspect.
A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Lincoln County on June 25, 2022, at around 2:20 a.m.
The suspect was captured on surveillance video throwing a lit Molotov cocktail at the center before running toward the nearby intersection of Country Club Road and Hollow Road.
The video shows the Molotov hitting the building and fire ensuing. Additionally, a 911 call was received by the Lincolnton Fire Department about a fire in the 100 block of Doctors Park.
Video clips of the suspect are available to view under the news release on the Charlotte FBI field office’s website.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), contact their local FBI office or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. You may remain anonymous.
“Today’s announcement reflects the FBI’s commitment to vigorously pursue investigations into crimes against pregnancy resource centers, faith-based organizations, and reproductive health clinics across the country,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with our national, state, and local law enforcement partners to hold responsible anyone who uses extremist views to justify their criminal actions.”
The FBI is offering similar rewards in eight other such attacks on crisis pregnancy centers that took place across the country in California, Colorado, Tennessee, New York, Oregon, Wisconsin and Washington state. Three of the nine total cases in which the FBI is offering a reward took place in Oregon.
In the press statements about the rewards, the FBI says they can investigate the incidents as “potential acts of domestic violent extremism, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) violations, or violent crime matters, depending on the facts of each case.”
“This attempted arson took place over 200 days ago — but the FBI only announced a reward late last week. What took them so long? Unfortunately, it’s clear that attacks on pregnancy centers are not even close to a top priority for the FBI,” Republican Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-08) said in a statement to North State Journal. “Here in DC, every NC Democrat voted against a resolution to condemn these attacks, and it’s disappointing that the NC Democrat House delegation did the same.”
Last summer, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and then-Rep. Ted Budd sent a letter to North Carolina Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein asking him to protect crisis pregnancy centers in the state and investigate the attack on the Asheville clinic allegedly perpetrated by the group “Jane’s Revenge.” In their July 29 letter, the lawmakers asked Stein to use the FACE Act to protect Crisis Pregnancy Centers in North Carolina.
The request to Stein was made after 20 members of the U.S. House sent a letter in June to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland reminding him of his responsibility to defend Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
Stein’s response to Tillis and Budd acknowledged receipt of their letter but did not stipulate he would investigate the attack, yet stated, “As our state’s Attorney General, my top priority is to protect the people of North Carolina.” Stein’s letter went on to tell lawmakers if anyone is “engaging in violence,” they should “notify law enforcement.”
Budd told North State Journal that Stein’s office “can and should” be doing more to investigate and protect crisis pregnancy centers.
North State Journal reached out several times to Stein’s office for comment about the FBI’s reward offer but received no response.
Nationally, Democrats have refused to condemn the attacks suffered by a long list of crisis pregnancy centers last year, including recently voting down a measure publicly denouncing such attacks.
House Resolution 3 (H.R. 3) was brought to the floor as the 118th Congress began business. The vote was 222 to 208 in favor, with all but three Democratic members voting “nay.”
The “nay” votes included all seven Democratic members of North Carolina’s House congressional delegation which include Reps. Don Davis (NC-01), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Alma Adams (NC-12), George “Wiley” Nickel (NC-13) and Jeff Jackson (NC-14).