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article imagePolice: Facebook 'unfriending' drives woman to arson

By Kim I. Hartman     Nov 7, 2011 in Crime
Des Moines - Police have arrested a woman and charged her with arson after a fire forced an Iowa family to flee their home in a crime that police believe was in retaliation for a Facebook "unfriending."
Jennifer Christine Harris of Des Moines was arrested and charged with first degree arson after she allegedly set fire to to the garage of a former Facebook friend over an argument that began on the social networking site and continued in text messages.
The thirty-year-old, who was upset over being unfriended, hatched a revenge-fueled plan to burn down the home of Jim and Nikki Rasmussen, according to the Des Moines Register.
The fire began in a detached garage, says fire officials, and soon began to melt the siding of the Rasmussen's home. The family was awakened by popping noises and a loud explosion and managed to escape the residence frightened but uninjured. The two-story garage, which contained the Rasumssen's automobiles and personal property, was declared a total loss.
The Des Moines Register reported when investigators asked the family "if the knew anyone who might want to harm them," they replied "Jennifer 'Jen' Harris." Jim Rasmussen told police that "his wife and Harris were involved in an online dispute over a Facebook party." He said, "according to Nikki, Jen is angry with her because she ended their friendship on Facebook."
Nikki Rasmussen told the Des Moines police, "that she and Harris' friendship dissolved when they argued while trying to plan a birthday party for Harris. Harris then began to disparage her on Facebook," reports ABC News. "I unfriended her and blocked her so I couldn't see what she was saying."
Harris is being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
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