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Apparent arson at Espanola newspaper causes $4,000-$5,000 in damages

SANTA FE, N.M. — The publisher of a weekly newspaper in Española says he has a collection of about 15 rocks that have been thrown through windows at their offices on North Railroad Avenue over the past 20 years or so. But never has anyone tried to burn down the building that houses the Rio Grande Sun.

That apparently changed during the early morning hours of last Saturday. Española police suspect an arsonist broke a window, poured gasoline inside and attempted to set the building ablaze about 5:30 a.m.

Only one office of the cinder block building sustained damage, however. Publisher Robert B. Trapp estimated the bookkeeper’s office sustained between $4,000 and $5,000 worth of damage.

“The worst part was the smell from burnt plastic,” said Trapp, who added that a copy machine was the most valuable piece of equipment lost in the fire. A desk and chairs also were damaged, but no financial records were lost.

“It (the fire) never got that far,” he said.

Asked if he suspected anyone of the crime, Trapp quipped that the list o f potential suspects was long.

The subject of a 2012 documentary “The Sun Never Sets,” the newspaper is known for its uncompromising coverage of hard news events in Española and Rio Arriba County.

Española police have the benefit of surveillance video, which may have captured the culprit in action.

“All I can say is (the video was) very helpful,” Trapp said. “There will be several directions police can go from the video.”

The Sun is published each Wednesday and has a paid circulation of 11,000.


ESPANOLA, N.M. — The publisher of the Rio Grande Sun said he doesn’t know why anybody would try to burn down the northern New Mexico weekly newspaper’s building in Espanola.

Publisher Robert Trapp also said it’ll said it’ll be business as usual for the newspaper’s staff Monday following an arson fire over the weekend.

Somebody apparently broke a window, poured gasoline inside and lit the room on fire early Saturday morning.

Police Cpl. Daniel Espinoza said nobody was in the building in the time and that no injuries were reported.

Espinoza said firefighters were able to contain the fire to the office before it spread through the building.

No immediate estimate was available on cost of the fire damage.


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