A Beech Grove man will serve federal prison time for a major fire at the Beech Grove Amtrak facility and an apartment complex in Johnson County.
Casey Sage, 35, of Beech Grove, was sentenced was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to arson of a federal property and arson of property of an organization receiving federal financial assistance.
According to court documents, on May 1, 2021, Sage entered the Amtrak facility located at 202 Garstang Street in Beech Grove. Amtrak, a federally owned corporation, uses that facility for repair and servicing of locomotives and passenger rail cars. A little after midnight, Sage ignited a railroad flare and threw it into a building used to store acetone, paint, denatured alcohol, varnish, spray paint, degreaser, engine starting fluid, and paint remover. This quickly started a fire, which spread to another building close by that was also used to store flammable material. Both buildings were destroyed because of the fire. In total, Sage caused more than $1.1 million in damages to the Amtrak facility.
Investigators also discovered that, a few weeks before the Amtrak fire, Sage entered his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in Greenwood, at an apartment complex receiving Section 8 funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sage intentionally started a fire in the master bedroom of the apartment. The fire eventually spread to most of the apartment before it was successfully extinguished. This arson caused more than $100,000 in damages to the apartment building and approximately $10,000 in property loss to the apartment tenant.
“The arsons committed by the defendant were an outrageous course of conduct that endangered apartment complex residents and emergency personnel,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “I appreciate the hard work of investigators and prosecutors who came together across agencies to identify and vigorously prosecute the defendant, and the first responders who risk themselves to keep the public safe. The serious sentence imposed today demonstrates that those who commit arsons with utter disregard for the lives and safety of the public will be held accountable.”
“Today’s sentencing brings a successful end to a fast-paced, complex, and highly collaborative investigation that brought several agencies together with a common goal of safeguarding the community by taking a dangerous criminal off the streets,” said Basil Demczak, Special Agent in Charge of the Amtrak Office of Inspector General Central Field Office. “We not only appreciate the dedication of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and all of the agencies involved, but we are grateful for the support of members of the Beech Grove community in helping our team solve this crime.”
“After the Beech Grove Fire Department successfully extinguished the arson fire, our department worked with local, state and federal authorities to develop evidence to lead to this guilty plea,” said Amtrak Police Chief Sam Dotson. “Our Heavy Maintenance Facility employs almost 500 Amtrak employees and is a critical element to our national network, so protecting it and assisting in prosecution of those who would damage it is an important part of the department’s mission.”
The cases were investigated by the Amtrak Office of the Inspector General, Amtrak Police, Beech Grove Police Department, Greenwood Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigation, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon. As part of the sentence, Judge Hanlon ordered that Sage be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for five years following his release from federal prison.