Bismarck man charged with starting Walmart fire sentenced to prison time

Crime Tracker

A Bismarck man who admitted to setting fire to a Bible inside Bismarck’s north Walmart in December will spend about 11 more months in prison.

Court records show 27-year-old Andrew Ells was sentenced to spend three years in prison, with half of the time suspended. Ells was given credit for 211 days already served. He was also sentenced to three years of probation following his release.

In March Ells pleaded guilty to endangering by fire or explosion, a class C felony. He was arrested in December of 2019 for starting a fire in Walmart’s garden center.

A class B felony arson charge was dropped in March.

Meanwhile, a restitution hearing is scheduled for August 11th in South Central District Court to determine how much Ells owes to Walmart, which estimates the fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage in the store.

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