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Updated: 05/03/2013 5:13 PM
Created: 05/03/2013 8:13 AM KSTP.com | Print |  Email
By: Maricella Miranda

Man Charged with Arson in Wis. Elementary School Fire

Investigators say Justin Nelson broke into St. Croix Elementary School earlier this week through a skylight in the ceiling.

Once inside, Nelson reportedly used fire extinguishers to break into classrooms and the principals office. Nelson allegedly took valuables from teachers' desks and meds from the nurses office before setting fire to five different places inside the school.

According to a St. Croix County criminal complaint, Nelson told a witness he "loves fire more than an ordinary person." Nelson admitted to the crime, though his memory from that night is "foggy," the complaint said.

The 24-year-old man was charged Friday with multiple felonies in a suspected arson fire at the elementary in Roberts, a city in western Wisconsin. In addition to felony arson, Nelson was charged with criminal damage to property and burglary.

The complaint is available here.

Investigators believe the Tuesday morning fire caused about $1.5 million in damage.

The complaint alleges that Nelson also stole drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder from the school nurse's cabinet and cameras from several classrooms.

Nelson was arrested Thursday night. His previous criminal history includes a conviction for misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to state records.

Nelson currently is being held at the St. Croix County Jail with bail set at $100,000. Conditions of his release are to stay sober and stay away from the school.

St. Croix Elementary will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Watch our previous coverage of the story in the video box above.


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