NORTH BRANCH, Minn. - Police in North Branch have arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with an arsonfire that nearly destroyed a community veterinary clinic.
Sergeant Rick Sapp tells KARE 11 that the suspect, a man from the community, was taken into custody Friday after a flurry of tips from the public. He would not say whether the man is connected to a flurry of similar fires that damaged other area businesses.
The suspect was booked into the Chisago County jail on suspicion of second degree arson. He won't appear in court until Tuesday, as the courts are closed Monday for Veterans Day.
Police had offered a $2,500 dollar reward after the most recent arson, a fire that all but destroyed the North Branch Veterinary Hospital early the morning of November 4. Investigators say the person responsible for that fire also tried to start a nearby hotel on fire the same evening.
Kapp says there have been between five to ten additional arson fires in the community that may be the work of the same suspect. The blazes started as dumpster fires butsoon escalated to structure fires.
In addition to the vet hospital, a Tae Kwan Do studio and several other commercial businesses have been targeted.
Kapp says all of the fires have happened between 1 and 5 a.m.;