Able to keep hold of his lighter, police say arson suspect tried to set fire at police station in Green Bay

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GREEN BAY -- Green Bay police say a man who tried to set fire to a business on Broadway Street in Green Bay, also set a fire inside the police department!

Don Mjelde, the owner of "Richard Cranium's," said he was cleaning on Monday morning, May 9th when he noticed commotion outside.

"I came out to see what was wrong and the building was on fire across the street," Mjelde said.

Mjelde said police told him the fire was intentionally set.

Luckily, Mjelde's bar has surveillance cameras.

"I've got a camera that points at my sidewalk, so I figured maybe we can see if he walked by my sidewalk.  Well, it turns out he came right by my building," Mjelde said.

The video shows a man walk past the bar, and then cross the street. About 30 seconds later, a small fire started across the street from Mjelde's bar.

"In a short period of time, the officers were able to locate the male that was in the video surveillance in the area of where the arson occurred," Green Bay Police Captain Kevin Warych said.

The story doesn't end there.

Police say when they brought the suspect back to the police station, he tried to start a fire in an interview room.

"He subsequently took a lighter out of his pocket and ignited some Kleenex that was on the table.  That fire was quickly extinguished," Warych said.

Warych says the suspect was searched at the police station -- but was able to keep his lighter.

"The person, at that time, was a person of interest. You make sure they don't have any weapons," Warych said.

When he learned the suspect allegedly tried to set a fire at the police station, Mjelde said he was even happier he was able to help police arrest him.

"Good thing we got him off the street!" Mjelde said. "This is a good area and I like it a lot and it's good to catch people that try to cause trouble here."

The suspect has not been formally charged -- but police said they're recommending charges of arson, theft and criminal damage to property.

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