A student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, claims she had been the victim of racist incidents, including arson. However, police discovered that the alleged victim of framed hate crimes was the one caught on surveillance video starting the fire in the university’s residence hall.
Viterbo University student Victoria Unanka is reported to have texted a friend on April 18, claiming that a small fire started in the girl’s residence hall must have been directed towards herself because it began in the next room over.
When police investigated the fire and reviewed security footage, authorities discovered that it was the same student who set the fire.
Unanka was then arrested for arson and negligent handling of burning materials but released on signature bond, the La Cross Tribune reported.
She is alleged to have told police she had been with friends the night of the fire and returned home around midnight when she prepared food and then went to the lounge to clean up. Unanka said she didn’t go anywhere else in the residence hall before returning to the dorm room. She also told police she didn’t see anything suspicious prior to the fire. Once the alarm went off, she said she and another friend knocked on doors to get other students to evacuate the building.
Upon the police’s arrival, several students were discussing concerns that the fire was another hate crime incident. But when police reviewed security footage, which had been installed after reports of racist and threatening graffiti, of the residence hall, law enforcement noticed inconsistencies in Unanka’s claims.
The surveillance video showed Unanka left the dorm room at about 2:09 a.m. and began checking to see if other residents were present. In the next five minutes, Unanaka walks into the lounge area and uses the bathroom before returning to the dorm room. Smoke could be seen on the camera footage at 2:14 a.m. Unanka then began knocking on doors and pulled the fire alarm herself, the video reveals.