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Patrick Springer, Published August 17 2013

Moorhead police arrest suspect in Coach's fire

MOORHEAD – Surveillance photographs helped police identify the suspect arrested Friday for the arson fire last month of the former Coach’s Sports Pub.

Jeffrey Joseph Little, 29, Moorhead, is being held this weekend in the Clay County Jail on charges of first- and second-degree arson, Sgt. Thad Stafford of the Moorhead Police Department

said Saturday.

“We received multiple calls,” Stafford said, referring to responses to news reports showing a man captured in a store surveillance camera who was described as a “person of interest.”

The calls helped police identify Little as the suspect, Stafford said.

“Our investigators have worked tireless hours on the case,” he said.

Police are not seeking any other suspects. Little, who was arrested Friday evening without incident, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.

The former Coach’s Sports Pub, 617 Center Ave., sustained heavy damage from a fire discovered early the morning of July 8.

The fire was concentrated in what had been the nightclub’s kitchen, where police believed the fire started.

The building’s sprinkler system had been turned off, which the law allows if most combustibles are removed and firefighters are made aware of the situation.

The bar closed in 2005 after the city decided not to renew its liquor license. It had been the location of numerous police calls, including fights.

In 2004, a college student died after consuming at least 15 drinks while celebrating his 21st birthday at the bar.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fire.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522