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Burning Bush Bandit Pleads Guilty

A serial arsonist entered a plea agreement during a Tuesday settlement conference in Kingman. 40-year-old Charlie Balluff decided to take a deal after Judge Billy Sipe explained he was looking at a 30-100-year prison term if convicted of 22 criminal charges at trial.

Deputy Kingman police chief Rusty Cooper said Balluff had been connected to more than 400 Kingman area arson incidents dating back to 2013 when he was arrested last June. No one was hurt in the fires, most of them involving dumpsters or brush.

The plea deal dismisses 11 arson-related charges, five reckless burning counts, and single counts of criminal littering, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. The defendant branded by law enforcement authorities as the ``Burning Bush Bandit” pleaded guilty to three arson counts.

Prosecutor James Schoppmann said Balluff torched a Waste Management-owned dumpster in the 2100 block of Airway Avenue in April, 2016 and a city-owned dumpster in the 2500 block of the same thoroughfare in November, 2018. The other arson conviction involved brush and a fence damaged at a residential property at 1975 E. Devlin Avenue in May of last year.

Schoppmann said Balluff made admissions in the trio of arson incidents and that he could be placed at the crime scenes by DNA and other evidence.

Balluff rejected one plea that would result in a mandatory 5.5-year sentence in favor of another that provides the Court a 1-10 year prison range. An April 15 sentencing hearing was scheduled.

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