Police: Man ignited Bible to steal from North Dakota Walmart

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A man poured lighter fluid on a Bible and ignited it at a Walmart in North Dakota in order to cause a distraction in hopes of stealing items from the store, according to a police affidavit.

The suspect was captured on surveillance video wearing a camouflage ski mask in the store in Bismarck where he went behind some boxes in the garden center area, the affidavit said. Soon a fire appears.

Court documents show 27-year-old Andrew Ells is charged with felony arson and endangering by fire or explosion. The documents don’t list an attorney for him.

The affidavit doesn’t explain why he used a Bible in starting the fire. He left the store through an emergency exit. It wasn’t clear if he stole anything.

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Store officials told police that the loss of merchandise to smoke damage is estimated at $300,000, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Ells is being held in the Burleigh Morton Detention Center on $25,000 cash bail.

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