The owner of the GI Joe’s store on E. Washington Street was charged with setting fire to the building.
According to the North Attleborough Police Department, Vicki M. Bertelsen, 46, of 117 Farrington Avenue, Norfolk, was arraigned at an Attleboro District Court on Aug. 25.
According to court documents, a not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Bertelsen, and she was released on a $5,000 cash bail on the conditions that she stay away from the business, have no possession of dangerous weapons, undergo a mental health evaluation and abide by any treatment plans.
Bertelsen faces one charge of burning a building for allegedly starting a small fire on Aug. 1. The charge is punishable by a maximum 10 years in prison.
According to the North Attleborough Fire Department, a fire alarm alerted dispatchers at approximately 7:45 p.m. of a fire at the store. Firefighters who arrived at the scene found smoke emanating from the building and were able to extinguish the fire in 10 minutes.
An investigation by the NAFD and the NAPD found footage of Bertelsen lighting a display case in the store on fire.
According to Assistant District Attorney Eric DeMoura, the police reported that Bertelsen left the store in an Uber and went to a restaurant in Wrentham, where a witness allegedly heard her say she was “going to jail for arson.”
DeMoura asked Judge Michele Amour to hold Bertelsen without bail, arguing that she is a danger to the community.
Bertelsen’s lawyer, Brian Roman of North Attleborough, pushed back on DeMoura’s claim. He told the judge his client had no prior criminal record and willfully surrendered to police on Aug. 1 after being told there was a warrant for her arrest.
Armour ultimately sided with Roman and released Berelsen on her recognizance.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Oct. 27.