Man pleads not guilty to burglarizing, setting fire at Gourmet Chef

A 22-year-old Makoti man entered not guilty pleas Thursday to charges that he smashed a window at Gourmet Chef on Jan. 4, “trashed” the business, set it on fire and afterwards rifled through a motor vehicle outside that didn’t belong to him.

Anthony Carl Frederick is charged in district court in Minot with Class B felony criminal mischief, Class C felony burglary, Class C felony endangering by explosion and Class C felony unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.

Minot Police Detective Robbie Sumlin testified at the preliminary hearing that Frederick told police he had drinks with a friend and was walking downtown after the bar closed when he passed by Gourmet Chef. Frederick thought he saw alcohol on display in the window of the business, so he smashed the window and crawled inside. Once inside, he urinated on a counter there and wandered around the business knocking things off shelves and flicking a cigarette lighter at different objects, trying to set something on fire. He succeeded in starting a fire, which he then tried and failed to put out with a fire extinguisher. Frederick then crawled out the window and exited the business. He told police he then began rifling through cars nearby. Police found him inside a motor vehicle in a nearby parking garage. The car did not belong to him and he did not have permission to be inside it.

Under questioning from the defense, Sumlin testified that Frederick was able to walk and did not appear to be excessively drunk. Sumlin said he did not question Frederick regarding whether he had taken other substances. Frederick told police he had been drinking but that was not why he went into Gourmet Chef. Frederick did not tell police why he did what he did, Sumlin testified. Sumlin testified that Frederick smelled of smoke.

Judge Stacy Louser found probable cause to let the cases move forward. A pretrial conference in the case is set for April 18.

Gourmet Chef had to be closed for two days after the incident while staff cleaned up. According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court, police found several pieces of paper smoldering, which caused the smoke, and a fire extinguisher had been discharged. Computers, shelving and flooring in the business were destroyed along with merchandise such as kitchen utensils and a coffee grinder. The total damage was estimated at more than $24,000. However, Sumlin testified at the preliminary hearing that Gourmet Chef had not submitted an estimate of damages. He said the damage was in excess of $1,000. Louser found evidence had been presented that the damage was in excess of $10,000 because of fire damage, the broken window and other damage reported.