The Phoenix Police Department has arrested a former Democratic Party volunteer in connection with a fire at the Maricopa County Democratic Party office building. Former Democratic Party State Committeeman, Matthew Egler was arrested Wednesday morning on arson charges. The 29-year-old was a former volunteer at the office but had recently been banned from continued volunteer service “due to the nature of his previous behavior,” officials said.
Egler, the current President and Chairman of Valley Leadership Council, an organization with the purpose of “putting leaders into public office that represent the best interest of the People of Arizona” according to his LinkedIn. Egler is a former Arizona Democratic Party precinct committeeman and state committeeman. His profile claims, “I represent all Democratic Party Voters in Several Precincts in Legislative District 22 in Arizona, roughly 6000-9000 voters with some 30000-45000 People. My job is to: attend Party Meetings, Vote on matters of importance such as the Presidential Delegate Selection Convention, Get out the vote in my Precincts, and recruit candidates to run for office.”
So why did the former Democratic Party volunteer set fire to his own party’s Arizona office building?
In what appears to be an arson case fueled by the disgruntled Egler, the fire happened after midnight on Friday, July 24 at the offices near Central and Thomas in Downtown Phoenix. The fire was extinguished but not before causing substantial damage to the building, according to KTAR News. The Arizona Democratic Party shares the building with Maricopa County Democratic Party, but the county side received the brunt of the damage.
(Maricopa Democratic Party Photo)
A party spokesman said the fire won’t have a large effect on operations since employees have been working remotely since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s sad from the standpoint of all the memories that were in there and the memorabilia, but for the most part we’re focused on what’s ahead and that nobody was injured,” Matt Grodsky, communications director for the Arizona Democratic Party, told KTAR News 92.3 FM last week.
Investigators from the Fire Investigation Task Force, comprised of the Phoenix Fire Department and Police Department and in partnership with the ATF, investigated the fire. Surveillance video showed a man arriving alone in a car in the overnight hours. The video shows the suspect breaking glass to get into the building and then lighting an incendiary fire inside. The man then drove off.
ARREST MADE: 29-year-old Matthew Egler has been arrested in connection with the fire set to the Democratic Party Headquarters. The fire happened after midnight on Friday, July 24 near Central and Thomas in Downtown Phoenix. The fire caused substantial damage to the building. pic.twitter.com/6cXhOppySA
— Phoenix Police (@PhoenixPolice) July 29, 2020
Task Force Investigators were able to link the vehicle from the surveillance video to a family member of Egler. The car was found abandoned in Chandler, Arizona. Further investigation revealed Egler had posted information on social media linking him to the crime and threatening additional violence.
Investigators found Egler at a family member’s home in Peoria. He was arrested and booked on one count of Arson of an Occupied Structure.