Man turns himself into police in connection with St. Paul church arson


A 27-year-old man has turned himself into St. Paul police in connection with a Friday morning fire at St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church that caused $100,000 in damage to the structure.

The Pioneer Press reported that the man, who is in the Ramsey Co. Jail after being arrested on arson charges, has a history of making fake emergency calls reporting fires, shootings and other crimes that hadn't happened. The man pleaded guilty in June to one count of placing a fictitious emergency 911 call to prompt response. According to the newspaper, other counts were dismissed although a previous criminal complaint said that the suspect had placed more than a dozen fake emergency calls between June 1 and Oct. 24, 2013.

He is currently on probation in connection with previous case. He has not yet been charged in connection with the church arson.

No injuries occurred in the fire at the church, which is located at West Seventh and Goodhue streets near downtown and has had a presence in that neighborhood of St. Paul for more than a century.

WCCO reported that the fire was discovered in the office area of the church. KSTP reported that several windows were blown out. The station quoted Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard, who said that the church's sanctuary appeared to be fine.

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