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FBI investigates firebombing of UCLA researcher's car

March 10, 2009|Julie Cart

The FBI is looking into the firebombing of a vehicle owned by a UCLA neuroscientist who was targeted by an anti-animal research group for using primates in his study of psychiatric disorders.

The March 7 incident involving a homemade incendiary device took place outside the faculty member's home and caused no injuries, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. The UCLA professor, who researches treatments for schizophrenia, drug addiction and other disorders, was not identified.

The firebombing is one in a series of aggressive acts aimed at university researchers who use animals in medical studies, UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said. In other cases, firebombs have been left on doorsteps and in homes, vehicles have been vandalized and researchers have received threatening phone calls and e-mails.

The harassment led to a court order last year that has since been converted into a preliminary injunction banning the distribution of researchers' personal information on websites and fliers.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, March 11, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
UCLA: An article in Monday's Section A about the destruction of a UCLA professor's vehicle referred to the incident as a firebombing. The FBI has not called it a firebombing and considers the incident "suspicious arson."

Eimiller said the investigation of Saturday's incident will be conducted by a Joint Terrorism Task Force that includes the FBI, the LAPD, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the UCLA Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Animal Liberation Front posted a message on its website Monday from a group that claimed responsibility for the firebombing.

UCLA is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the incident.


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