The fire at a downtown St. Paul Lunds & Byerlys grocery store caused anywhere between $500,000 and $800,000 in damages.
That's according to criminal charges filed against Timothy John Arsenal, 36, who is accused of setting fire to a recycling ban next to the exterior wall of the Lunds at 115 10th St. E. in the early hours of Mar. 29.
The fire spread to the entrance of the store, causing major damage to the exterior of the building as well as the entrance canopy, not to mention major smoke damage to the interior.
According to the charges, Lunds had to discard $350,000 of merchandise due to smoke damage, while the total damage to the store will come to between $500,000 and $800,000.
Surveillance footage showed a man wearing a dark baseball cap, dark pants, and a light hoodie approach the trash and recycling bins where the fire was found to have been started. The footage showed him place his hand into the recycling bin, which ignited a short time later.
Investigators were then told by Regions Hospital that a man matching the arsonist's description had been a patient at the hospital, and had left the building at 12:50 a.m. carrying white plastic bags that he was seen with in the surveillance footage.
The suspect was identified as Arsenal, who has three previous felony convictions for theft, burglary, and drug possession.
The charges note that Arsenal "has a history of civil commitments" for mental health issues.
He has been charged 2nd-degree arson, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.