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Timothy Arsenal, 37, Charged With Arson In St. Paul Grocery Store Fire

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- A 37-year-old man has been charged with arson in last week's fire that heavily damaged the exterior of a downtown St. Paul grocery store.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office filed charges against Timothy John Arsenal, who has no permanent address, accusing him of felony second-degree arson. A conviction on the charge could result in a penalty of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or possibly both.

The fire happened March 29 at about 1:30 a.m. at Lunds & Byerlys on Tenth Street East. The fire mainly damaged the exterior, and the complaint says that the heat from the fire damaged lightbulbs in a nearby street lamp.

Timothy Arsenal Mug
(credit: Ramsey County)

Damages were estimated anywhere from $500,000 to $800,000, including roughly $350,000 worth of groceries and merchandise that needed to be discarded due to smoke. There was also damage from smoke to a nearby apartment building.

Surveillance video revealed a man lighting fires in the trash and recycling bins near the store. He was seen carrying a white plastic bag, which matched one being carried by a patient who was earlier at Regions Hospital, as did clothing the patient was wearing.

Arsenal is currently being held in Ramsey County Jail "on other matters," according to the complaint. He has previously been convicted of at least three felonies, and has a history of civil commitments.

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