A man accused of setting fire to a library at the Church of Scientology in downtown St. Paul last week has been charged with felony arson.
Anthony Odell Johnson, 36, was charged Monday with first-degree arson in Ramsey County District Court.
Judge Stephen Smith set bail at $100,000 with conditions.
According to charges, police were called to the church at 505 N. Wabasha St., where a witness told police she was in the church's second-floor library when she asked Johnson if he needed help.
He then took a jug of gasoline from his backpack and began splashing it on the books. The witness then saw flames and smoke, escaped through a side door and got a fire extinguisher to put out the fire while other church members called 911.
Police found a burned matchbook on a shelf.
A fire investigator found that after pouring gasoline on the bookshelves and floor, Johnson allegedly used the matches to ignite the gasoline.
He kept pouring gasoline on the floor all the way into the hallway, charges said.
He was later arrested and he declined to speak with officers.
The witness said Johnson is known from prior incidents at the church, including on March 16 when police removed him for being disorderly and threatening to assault church members while several people were inside taking a class.