Release Date: Monday, June 27, 2011 4:50 p.m.
Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Jacob Alan Loughlin, 18 years old, previously residing in the 500 block of Oak Spring Court in Virginia Beach, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Frederick B. Lowe on charges of Arson of an Occupied Building and Possess/Use/Manufacture Firebomb (2 counts). Judge Lowe sentenced Loughlin to a total of 15 years in the Department of Corrections with 13 years suspended, leaving two (2) years to serve. The suspended sentence is conditioned upon 15 years good behavior and indeterminate supervision.
Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proven that on October 29, 2010, Jacob Loughlin entered the men’s restroom at the Virginia Beach Central Library and lit a roll of toilet paper on fire. The fire scorched the toilet paper dispenser and stall wall. A citizen alerted a security guard, who chased but did not catch Loughlin as he fled through the parking lot. The next day, Loughlin and a juvenile went to Mount Trashmore Park in the City of Virginia Beach, where a crowd had gathered in support of congressional candidate Scott Rigell. Loughlin and his accomplice created explosive devices inside empty plastic bottles and placed them in various locations throughout the park. One device was placed directly in front of a woman and her toddler. A citizen observing this threw the device into a nearby trashcan where it exploded seconds later. Loughlin and the juvenile fled the park on bicycles. When apprehended and questioned by investigators with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, Loughlin admitted to setting the fire at the library and to manufacturing and setting off the bottle bombs at Mount Trashmore.
“Fortunately, no citizens were harmed in either incident,” Bryant said. “The chemical bombs had the potential to seriously injure anyone nearby when they detonated.”
Loughlin’s prior record includes three (3) adjudications in Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for Trespassing as well as convictions in Virginia Beach General District Court for Trespassing and Entering Property to Damage.
Senior Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Catherine Dodson prosecuted the case. Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.