A Brooklyn Park man has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in the arson of a St. Paul vitamin and supplements store during rioting following George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Samuel Elliot Frey, 21, who pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiracy to commit arson, was also sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and must pay $33,826.64 in restitution for the fire at Great Health Nutrition, 1360 University Ave. W. U.S. District Judge Nancy E. Brasel handed down the sentence in federal court on Friday.
Great Health Nutrition was one of 1,500 locations damaged during unrest in the days after Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020. Nearly 150 buildings were set on fire and dozens burned to the ground. Vandals also smashed doors and windows, covered hundreds of boarded-up businesses with graffiti, and ransacked pharmacies, groceries, liquor stores and other businesses.
Great Health Nutrition is on a 3.5-mile stretch of University Avenue in St. Paul's Midway area that, along with a 5-mile stretch of Lake Street in Minneapolis, sustained the most damage. More than 70 businesses were hit on University Avenue, with more than a dozen sustaining serious fire damage.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Frey joined a gathering and entered the store on May 28, 2020. Inside, Frey poured a bottle of hand sanitizer onto a shelving unit on the floor and ignited it with burning paper. He poured more hand sanitizer to accelerate the fire, damaging the store.
A co-defendant, McKenzy Ann DeGidio Dunn, 21, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the nutrition store fire. Dunn was sentenced in May to three years of probation and $31,578 in restitution.