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N.D. high school principal held in school arson case

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

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DICKINSON, N.D. -- Trinity High School Principal Thomas Sander will be held on $500,000 cash at the Southwest Multi-County Correctional Center, Judge Dann Greenwood ruled Wednesday.

Sander, 30, is charged with arson and endangerment by fire after he allegedly set fire to a file cabinet in the office vault at the school. The fire early Monday spread and caused serious damage; classes can't be held at the building for the rest of the school year.

The endangerment charge is based on the fact that Sander knew a resident, Trinity religion teacher Robert Storey, was living in a second-floor apartment in the school.

Greenwood said the severity of the alleged crimes, combined with Sander's lack of ties to Dickinson and the "dramatic impact" the community has felt from the fire warranted the high bond. Sander won't be able to bail out, based on financial data he outlined to Greenwood.

"That seems to me to be a lot of money, Your Honor," he said to Greenwood at the Stark County Courthouse via video from the jail.

But Assistant Stark County State's Attorney Rhonda Ehlis said the bond, which she recommended, was fair considering the crime.

"We could've very easily had a loss of life," she said.

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