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Brainerd man arrested for first-degree arson

A 38-year-old Brainerd man was arrested for first-degree arson Thursday after he allegedly set a gas can on fire in the area of the 1000 block of Fir Street in Brainerd.

Steven Whitney
Steven Whitney

A 38-year-old Brainerd man was arrested for first-degree arson Thursday after he allegedly set a gas can on fire in the area of the 1000 block of Fir Street in Brainerd.

Brainerd police responded about 9 p.m. Tuesday and found a strong smell of gas in the area and burned grass near a garage along with a gas can. A witness who had been in the garage reported hearing a noise outside the garage and, upon exiting, saw the flames. While putting the fire out the witness saw a male running away from the area.

The witness believed the suspect was a male he recognized as Steven Whitney. The witness reported Whitney ran to a truck and fled the area. During further investigation, police were able to identify Whitney from a gas station video purchasing a small amount of gasoline shortly before the fire was reported. The video showed Whitney with a gas can matching the one found at the scene. A regional alert was issued for Whitney with the license plate and description of the truck involved.

Shortly after 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Brainerd police located the Ford truck Whitney was driving in the area of the 1100 block of Seventh Avenue Northeast in Brainerd. Whitney was located at a residence there and taken into custody without incident.

Whitney was transported to jail where he remains on charges while this matter is under review by the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office.

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Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Brainerd Police Department at 218-829-2805.

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