Arson suspect charged in Detroit Lake’s RV enterprise hearth

DETROIT LAKES, MN (Valley News Live) – Almost two months later, a business in Detroit Lakes was deliberately set on fire, according to the Becker County investigator.

Daniel Kaufman, 42, is charged with arson and second degree theft.

Officers and firefighters were sent to Wold’s RV sales on Highway 10 in Becker County at around 9:45 p.m. on December 29. When the crews arrived, the flames shot 10 to 12 feet in the air and the building was burned to death.

Court documents say investigators found a number of new footprints and vehicle tracks in a shop east of Wold’s RV later that evening. When investigators later checked the company’s security footage, investigators found that a white Dodge truck stopped behind some buildings on the property for about 20 minutes before exiting the scene.

On December 30, officials were informed that Kaufman’s suspicious truck was up for sale on the Facebook marketplace.

Later that morning, Becker County notified officials of an anonymous phone call claiming they had information about the fire. When officers called the number back, the man made a comment about the fire, which may be related to an angry customer and a fish house. Based on the caller’s comments, investigators then contacted the owner of Wold’s and asked him to check his lot to make sure nothing was missing.

Documents state that Wold called back shortly afterwards and reported that a brand new fish house worth about $ 30,000 was missing on their property.

Investigators received another call from an unknown man, but this time he identified himself as Kaufman. Documents state that Kaufman said he wanted to “evacuate” and give his whereabouts at the time of the fire.

Later that day, officers spoke to Kaufman and told him that his vehicle was involved in an arson attack. Documents say Kaufman replied, “I know, I know,” but said it wasn’t him and asked officers if they had a video of him or his face. Kaufman admitted fishing in Detroit Lakes with a man named Bill who borrowed his truck for about 20 minutes the night before. Kaufman stated that Bill believed he was framing him.

Investigators confiscated Kaufman’s phone and searched the Internet for “arson hotline”, “how to report an anonymous tip”, “how to create a fake car title”, “how to get a title for a camper” and “hidden GPS trackers.” “,” MN Big Bite for Sale “and” Cheapest RV and Trailer Storage “.

Documents state that investigators also discovered a text message conversation between Kaufman, who offers to sell a Big Bite Fish House to a man for $ 15,000. In the text thread, Kaufman said he doesn’t have a title for the fish house but is trying to get one. The officers then found photos of the interior and exterior of the stolen fish house on the phone.

Investigators returned to Kaufman’s home, but documents indicate that Kaufman denied being involved in the arson. Kaufman said the fish house was “just in a parking lot” at the AmercInn Hotel. Kaufman was not arrested.

The stolen fish house was later located at the hotel in Park Rapids, Minnesota. Documents also state that a set of two small keys was found in the center console of Kaufman’s pickup, which were later found to open the lock on the stolen fish house.

On January 11th, investigators received GPS data from Kaufman’s phone for the night of the fire. Documents say the data placed Kaufman’s phone at Walmart in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and documents state that surveillance at Walmart shows Kaufman’s white Dodge truck with the stolen fish house in the parking lot. Walmart surveillance also shows Kaufman exiting the truck and entering the Walmart store. Documents say the data placed Kaufman’s phone next at the AmericInn in Park Rapids and called Kaufman for about 20 minutes in the area of ​​Wold’s RV at the time of the arson.

State fire investigators later concluded that the cause of the fire was the willful act of a person using an open flame on available flammable materials.

Becker District Attorney Brian W. McDonald told Valley News Live that Kaufman posted a $ 30,000 bond on February 16. He will be on trial again this afternoon.

If convicted, Kaufman faces up to 20 years in prison.

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