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Forum News Service, Published November 29 2013

Rural Ogema man charged with arson, burglary

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – A rural Ogema man has been charged with two counts of first-degree arson and one count of felony burglary for allegedly setting fire to two buildings at a home in rural Callaway on Saturday.

Daniel Jack Thompson, 22, of 31062 County Road 34, was charged Monday in Becker County District Court. Judge Peter Irvine issued an order for detention in the case on Monday.

According to court records:

Thompson is accused of breaking into two buildings, a shop and a garage, at a residence on the 23000 block of Broadway Avenue, about 9 miles east of Callaway near Rice Lake.

After stealing some spare change, he allegedly tried to cover his tracks by using gasoline to set a vehicle on fire inside the garage and to set the shop on fire.

Sheriff’s officers and firefighters were called to the scene about 6:20 a.m., after the homeowner woke up, noticed a glow from outside and saw the pole barn-type shop was on fire.

It was fully engulfed in fire when emergency workers arrived, and the garage was smoking from the burned vehicle inside.

Officers at the scene noticed shoe prints in the snow that were worn out and had a distinctive circular mark on the heel.

They followed the tracks to an area where a home and camper were located. A sheriff’s investigator arrived and spoke to several people inside the camper, including Thompson.

Thompson insisted he was innocent, but officers said he smelled strongly of gasoline. A pair of shoes were found in the camper that appeared to match the shoeprints left at the scene. The shoes were wet, indicating they had been worn outside, and people in the camper said they belonged to Thompson.

He was arrested and taken to the Becker County Jail. He allegedly admitted entering the buildings, stealing some change and setting the fires to conceal the break-ins.