Weather Forecast


Authorities investigating possible burglary, arson in Bemidji

BEMIDJI — Local authorities are investigating a Sunday afternoon house fire that they say appears to have been ignited in order to cover up the evidence of an earlier burglary.

Beltrami County Sheriff’s deputies, Leech Lake Tribal Police and the Cass Lake fire department received a report of a house fire at 1:46 p.m. Sunday, according to a press release issued Tuesday afternoon by the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office.

When they arrived in the 6800 block of Maple Beach Court Northeast on the north side of Big Lake, they found the house engulfed in flames.

“The home was a total loss,” the press release stated.

Authorities also found evidence that the home had been burglarized prior to the fire.

“As deputies began to investigate the scene there were indications the fire had been ignited as a means to cover up evidence of the burglary which had occurred at the scene,” the press release stated. The State Fire Marshalls Office was asked to aid in the arson investigation, according to the press release.

“If the fire just happened Sunday it is highly unlikely the report has been submitted to the State Fire Marshal Division to be closed and processed,” wrote state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jen Longaecker in an email. “Under state law, we are unable to release any information about cases until the report is closed and processed.”

An older model brown or tan sedan with a darker brown door and loud exhaust system was seen driving from the area, according to the press release.

Those with any information, are asked to contact the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office at 218-333-9111. Those who wish to remain anonymous you may contact crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or text TIP674 “plus the tip” to 274637.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

(701) 255-5607