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Man Used Flaming Bible as Distraction for Theft

A theft suspect from North Dakota allegedly lit a Bible on fire in an attempt to conceal his effort to steal merchandise from a local Walmart store.

On December 13, at a Bismarck Walmart store with shoppers and employees inside, a fire reportedly broke out.

When the authorities arrived, one of the workers present during the event provided footage from the surveillance camera that displayed a man wearing a ski mask while concealing what was believed to be a Bible under his dark clothing. While in the garden center of the establishment the suspect walked behind boxes on the floor where he was assumed to have lit the holy tome ablaze using lighter fluid as an accelerant.

The police believed 27-year-old Andrew Ells was the man behind the mask that used the book as kindling inside of the store.

With reported probable cause established, Ells was placed under arrest for one count of felony arson. His bail was set at $25,000, and Ells has been ordered to stay away from Walmart as a result of the accusation.

When they interacted with Ells three-days after the incident, the police noted in the affidavit that the man chose to give an admission to setting the fire. Ells was additionally reported as disclosing that his motive for the act was in an effort to throw off the people in the store as he allegedly made an attempt to walk out the emergency door with items he did not pay for.

The store manager estimated that the smoke from the burning Bible caused $300 in damage. No one was reported as being injured during the event.

If you or someone you love is suspected of a crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.

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