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Liquor store owner appears in court

WILLMAR -- The woman charged in the fire that destroyed her business, K & M Liquor Store in Lake Lillian, made her first appearance Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Mary Sue Whitcomb, 51, of rural Atwater, faces charges of felony...

WILLMAR - The woman charged in the fire that destroyed her business,
K & M Liquor Store in Lake Lillian, made her first appearance Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court.
Mary Sue Whitcomb, 51, of rural Atwater, faces charges of felony second-degree arson and felony insurance fraud.
Bail was set Wednesday at $30,000, and conditional release was allowed on her own recognizance. An omnibus hearing has been scheduled for October 28.
The fire was reported on September 23 when a Lake Lillian resident drove around town to track down the smell of smoke he noticed in his yard.
Responding firefighters forced open the front door of the liquor store and doused the fire, which had originated in a first-floor bathroom.
The criminal complaint states that Whitcomb and two employees who are her daughters told investigators that there had been problems with a fuse for the bathroom light.
The fire marshal determined that the fire was not accidental, and had been caused when a match or lighter was used to ignite paper towels and toilet tissues in the bathroom.
The complaint alleges that Whitcomb was the last person in the building before the fire. She had left it about 15 minutes before the resident reported the fire.
The criminal complaint alleges that the business had been losing money and that Whitcomb had been unsuccessful in attempts to sell it.
Following the fire, Whitcomb submitted a claim to her insurance company for losses and damages totaling $75,304.56.

Related Topics: LAKE LILLIANFIRES
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