Almost ten years after a contractor set off a homemade chlorine bomb in their front yard, Myles and Karen Levine documented their experience in their new book, The Levine Project.
The book, co-authored by the Levines and Dan Baldwin, gets its name from Todd Fries’ plan to get revenge on Karen Levine.
“Fries said he wanted to get back at Karen… not Mick and Karen and not the Levines. Karen,” they wrote in chapter three.
Todd Fries (also known as Todd Burns) was the owner of Burn’s Power Washing, and was hired by the Levines to redo their driveway to make it easier to clean. He promised that the job would be done in two days, but it ended up becoming a two-month project.
“He was just very annoyed and very upset about all that,” Karen said. “He liked to get in and get out with jobs because he was very busy at the time; he was a very well-known contractor.”
Instead of fixing their driveway, Fries made it worse, causing multiple people to slip and fall on the new painted surface. Months passed, the Levines arguing and negotiating with Fries, trying to get him to finish the job he started.
At 5:30 a.m., on Nov. 1, 2008, the Levines woke up to their yard full of animal carcasses and motor oil, their house spray painted with Swastikas and the words “Die Juden.” Their doors and garage were sealed shut.
Eventually, the Levines moved, only to be met with the same torment on Aug. 2, 2009. But this time, the entire neighborhood was evacuated after Fries set off a chlorinated bomb. The smoke from the fire created a dense cloud of chlorine that hung over the neighborhood for an hour, according to news reports from the time.
Two years later, Fries was arrested by the FBI after an investigation, and the Levines spent a decade going through court processes.
Fries was convicted of two federal counts: concocting a bomb and attempted murder.
“He’s going to prison for 27 years total,” Karen Levine said. “He won’t get out until his mid 70s. He just ruined his whole life.”
Oct 14: Barnes & Noble, Foothills Mall, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd, 1 to 3 p.m.
Oct 15: Jewish Community Center, Zona Bookfest, 3800 E River Rd, noon to 4 p.m.
Oct. 22: Barnes & Noble, 5130 E. Broadway Blvd., 1 to 3 p.m.
Dec. 3: Mostly Books, 6208 E. Speedway Blvd., 1 to 5 p.m.
Dec. 9: Casa Bella Fine Arts, 4425 N. Campbell Ave., 1 to 6 p.m.
Rocky Baier is a University of Arizona journalism student and Tucson Local Media intern.