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ELKO – An Elko man who allegedly knocked over a display in a supermarket and attempted to light the contents of a nearby mailbox on fire was arrested on an arson charge Thursday morning.

Shane Johnson, 52, was attempting to buy items from Albertsons and became distraught when he was not able to afford everything he intended to buy, according to police.

Johnson then began behaving erratically, knocking over a display and taking things off the wall inside of the store.

Lt. Mike Palhegyi said police were originally called to the scene to address the disturbance Johnson was causing.

“When they got there, they found out that in addition to causing problems in the store the individual had deposited a cigarette into a mailbox and caused there to be a small fire inside the mailbox,” he said. “We got post office personnel to open it up and it had already extinguished itself but lighting mail on fire is still arson.”

Fire Marshal John Holmes said the fire’s proximity to businesses and the fact that mail was damaged could land Johnson in more trouble.

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“He is being charged with arson of an occupied structure because of it being next to businesses,” he said. “There will probably be more federal charges and stuff. I’m not sure how the court system will handle that but there will probably be some federal charges as well.”

Police said Johnson admitted to starting the fire when officers arrived and was arrested for third degree arson and disturbing the peace.

His bail was set at $5,352.


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