Man accused of setting fire at Bismarck Walmart has trial set for May

Crime Tracker

BISMARCK (KX News) — The man accused of setting a fire at Bismarck’s north Walmart location has had his trial date set.

Tuesday, Burleigh County Court Judge Pamela Nesvig set 27-year-old Andrew Ells’s two-day trial for May 5 & 6 of 2020. Court documents show Ells waived his preliminary trial.

Prosecutors accuse Ells of lighting a Bible on fire Friday, December 13, in the north Walmart.

Ells is said to have started the fire behind boxes in the Garden Center. He told investigators he started the fire to cause a distraction so he could steal the items in his cart.

Lighter fluid and the Bible were both found during the investigation. The estimated loss of merchandise at Walmart is about $300,000.

The Walmart was closed for several hours that day, and the Garden Center is expected to remain closed for several months.

Ells is charged with Arson and Endangering by Fire. He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

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