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Galleria arsonist gets 15 years in prison

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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The arsonist who started the blaze that destroyed a major portion of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday. Alexander Piggee, 24, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty on March 8 to setting the blaze that caused more than $55 million in damages. According to court records, Piggee entered the Game Stop in the Galleria Mall on the morning of Oct. 21, 2010. After ordering a store employee to leave, he started a fire in a storeroom in the back of the store. The fire then spread through the ceiling and duct work and ultimately destroyed a large portion of the mall. Piggee also pleaded guilty for starting a small fire that caused minor damages at a Wal-Mart store on Antelope Road in Sacramento County around 4:30 a.m. that same day. Piggee could have received up to 20 years in Federal prison for each count of arson. Prosecutors, however, recommended earlier this year that Piggee receive the minimum 5-year sentence for each count of arson, according to Lauren Horwood of the Department of Justice, Eastern District of California. That meant Piggee would have spent 10 years in prison. But U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez said 10 years was not enough. “It was perhaps a cry for help, but it was the wrong cry for help,” Mendez said in the sentencing. Piggee’s 15-year prison sentence will be followed by six years of supervised release, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice. Westfield Galleria officials announced in June that the mall is planning for a complete re-opening on Oct. 6. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.