Cops: Guy Burned Down House to Impress Woman
And they only found out about it due to ... stolen batteries
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2014 2:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Well, this is one way to try and score a date: Police say a North Dakota man burned down a farmhouse ... to impress a lady. It was a very strange chain of events that ultimately led to this discovery, which got Fredrick Bohjanen Jr. charged with arson and other felonies last week. From the Park Rapids Enterprise:

  • Police responded to a call about a stolen tractor battery on October 8, one of several similar incidents reported in the area over the course of a few days. The owner of the tractor said he saw Bohjanen loading batteries into a truck with his father.
  • According to Bohjanen's father, his son said he'd been given the batteries; he was planning to sell them to get some of his money back after bailing Bohjanen out of jail.

  • Nine of the batteries matched the description of stolen ones, so police got a search warrant for a home belonging to a second man—Daniel Hengst—and found an alleged marijuana grow operation.
  • Amanda Hengst, who had lived at the house, told police Daniel Hengst and Bohjanen had recently started growing marijuana, and that they were also in possession of the stolen batteries.
  • Daniel Hengst told police he helped Bohjanen hide the batteries, which Bohjanen wanted to sell to get money for pot.
  • And then, finally, the kicker: Daniel Hengst told police he'd been drinking with Bohjanen and two women at a farmhouse when one of the women asked Bohjanen to burn down a house. They drove to another farmhouse, Hengst said, where Bohjanen set a sheet on fire to impress the woman; it set the farmhouse ablaze, and the group drove away to watch it burn from a distance. One of the women later corroborated the story, but said Bohjanen wanted to burn the house down because it was falling apart.