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Arrest made in fire at Grand Forks Somali-owned restaurant

CROOKSTON, Minn. -- The suspect in last week's arson fire at a Somali-owned restaurant in Grand Forks, N.D., has been arrested. Matthew William Gust, 25, was apprehended overnight in Minnesota's Polk County by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, th...

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CROOKSTON, Minn. -- The suspect in last week’s arson fire at a Somali-owned restaurant in Grand Forks, N.D., has been arrested.

Matthew William Gust, 25, was apprehended overnight in Minnesota’s Polk County by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Forks Police Department reported this morning.

Gust, East Grand Forks, was charged Friday with arson, a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He was booked into Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday on a fugitive from justice charge, Sgt. Phil Schroeder said.  

The fire was ignited about 2 a.m. Dec. 8 inside the Juba Coffee House and Restaurant, causing about $90,000 in damage to the business. Other businesses in Juba’s building also were affected.

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No one was injured in the fire.

Court papers reveal police believe a molotov cocktail, in the form of a 40-ounce beer bottle containing gasoline, was thrown through the window of the restaurant.

The fire occurred just days after a Nazi-like symbol was spray-painted on the restaurant’s exterior above the words “go home.” However, police have not linked the two incidents.

Related Topics: CRIME
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