North Dakota Man Arrested for Setting Bible Ablaze in Walmart

Andrew Ells, a 27-year-old from North Dakota, was arrested for arson after setting a Bible on fire inside a Walmart as part of a theft diversion. This incident caused approximately $300,000 in smoke damage to the store’s merchandise.

Quick Facts

  • Arson for Diversion: Ells ignited a Bible in Walmart’s garden section, intending to create a distraction for stealing merchandise.
  • Significant Damage: The fire caused no injuries but resulted in substantial smoke damage to the store, estimated at around $300,000.
  • Legal Ramifications: Charged with arson, Ells is currently detained with bail set at $25,000 and has been ordered to avoid contact with Walmart.

Ells, disguised with a camouflage balaclava, executed his plan by dousing a Bible with lighter fluid and setting it on fire. The blaze, which occurred in the garden section of the Bismarck Walmart, was intended as a distraction to facilitate theft. However, the fire caused significant smoke damage to the store’s merchandise, though no physical injuries were reported.

The incident was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras, leading to Ells’ identification and subsequent confession during police questioning. In his statement, Ells admitted to setting the Bible on fire as a means to distract staff and customers while he attempted to steal items in his cart. The specifics of what he intended to steal were not detailed in the affidavit.

Ells is now facing serious charges for his actions. The arson charge, a felony, reflects the severity of causing a fire in a public place and the potential risks involved. His bail has been set at $25,000, and he has been ordered to have no contact with Walmart, indicating the gravity of the offense and its impact on the community.

For Further ReadingThe concept of Arson is central to this case. Arson is the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property. It is a serious crime that can result in significant property damage, injury, or even death. Arson is often used for insurance fraud, revenge, or as a diversion tactic, as seen in this case. For more information, visit Arson on Wikipedia.


What was Andrew Ells’ motive for setting the fire?

Ells set the Bible on fire as a diversionary tactic to distract Walmart staff and customers, intending to use the chaos to steal items from the store.

What are the consequences Ells faces for his actions?

Ells faces arson charges, a serious felony, which could result in significant legal penalties, including imprisonment and fines, reflecting the severity of deliberately setting a fire in a public space.

How did the authorities apprehend Ells?

Ells was identified and apprehended through surveillance footage from the Walmart store, which captured the act of arson. His subsequent confession during police questioning further solidified the case against him.


Original article: Cops: Man Set Bible On Fire Inside Walmart | The Smoking Gun

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