Former Tempe constable arrested in arson plot

TEMPE, AZ - Police have arrested a Tempe man who was allegedly conspiring to burn down his home for the insurance money.

Tempe police say they arrested 30-year-old Jonathan Levenson on Saturday after a four-month investigation.

Levenson previously served as a Maricopa County Constable for the Kyrene Justice Court.

Police say detectives learned Levenson had reached out to other individuals and came up with a plan for them to take part in a scheme to burn down his home.

As part of the plan, Levenson was to be out of state during the Yom Kippur holiday and told the individuals to mark the home with anti-Semitic symbols before burning it down to make it look like a hate crime.

Also, on May 15, 2011, Levenson reported to Tempe police that someone had spray painted the word "Jew" on his vehicle but told the officer he had washed the paint off his car before he realized he should have taken photographs for the police report.

He also contacted Tempe police on June 30, 2011 to report his house had been vandalized and that suspects had painted anti-Semitic symbols on his home.

Authorities say detectives believe the reports may have been a prelude to the arson Levenson was planning for October.

After he was arrested, Levenson admitted to conspiring with others to burn down his home but said he decided not to go forward with the plan.

Levenson currently faces charges of conspiracy to commit arson of an occupied structure, conspiracy to commit fraud schemes and artifices, and false reporting to law enforcement.

Police said there are no additional suspects facing charges as a result of the investigation and nor further arrests are anticipated.
 

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