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2 arrested in Benson for fire, burglary in Alexandria

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ALEXANDRIA -- Two people have been arrested in connection with the fire and burglary at Off Broadway Antiques in downtown Alexandria.

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Bernard Michael Drivdahl, 53, and his girlfriend, Cassandra Sue Steward, 39, both of Benson were arrested on Sunday in Benson.

The Benson Police Department and the Swift County Sheriff's Office assisted the Alexandria Police Department with the investigation.

According to the Alexandria Police Department, the two suspects allegedly broke into Off Broadway Antiques, 201 6th Avenue East, stealing rare coins and other miscellaneous items. In an attempt to hide evidence of the crime, the suspects used gasoline as an accelerant and started the building on fire, according to authorities.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Oct. 7, Alexandria police and fire departments responded to a call about a fire in a bathroom located in an apartment above Off Broadway.

When firefighters arrived, they found the main floor of the building fully engulfed. They determined that the fire had actually started in the business on the main floor and spread to the apartments upstairs.

The two apartments were evacuated, along with numerous other apartments located in the 200 block of 6th Avenue East.

The fire was contained to the Off Broadway Antiques.

No one was injured in the blaze. The tenants in the building are being helped by the local American Red Cross.

Authorities described the smoke, fire and water damage as extensive.

Drivdahl and Steward are currently in the Douglas County Jail awaiting formal charges for possible first-degree arson and burglary.

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