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Arson on 6th Avenue? Two suspects from Benson charged

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Two people have been arrested in connection with the fire/burglary at Off Broadway Antiques in downtown Alexandria.

Bernard Michael Drivdahl, 53, and his girlfriend, Cassandra Sue Steward, 39, both of Benson, were arrested on Sunday, October 10 in Benson.

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The Benson Police Department and the Swift County Sheriff's Office assisted the Alexandria Police Department with the investigation.

According to the Alexandria Police Department, the two suspects allegedly broke into Off Broadway Antiques, 201 6th Avenue East, stealing rare coins and other miscellaneous items. In an attempt to hide their evidence, the suspects used gasoline as an accelerant and started the building on fire, according to authorities.

Shortly after 11 p.m. last Thursday, Alexandria police and fire departments responded to a call about a fire in a bathroom located in an apartment above Off Broadway Antiques (across the street from Koep's Korner).

When firefighters arrived, they found the main floor of the building fully engulfed. They determined that the fire had actually started on the main floor of the business and had spread to the ceiling or upstairs floor of the residential apartments.

The two apartments were evacuated, along with numerous other apartments located in the 200 block of 6th Avenue East. The fire was contained to the Off Broadway Antiques building and did not spread to any of the other businesses on the block.

No one was injured in the blaze. The tenants in the building are being helped by the local American Red Cross. Authorities described the smoke, fire and water damage as extensive.

Drivdahl and Steward are currently in jail awaiting formal charges.

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