Police said Monday they are close to arresting a woman wanted in connection with a fire that forced the closing of the Marshalls store in downtown Minneapolis last month.
The store on Nicollet Mall between 6th and 7th streets S. has been closed since the fire late in the morning on July 15, when a clothing rack was set afire, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, according to police.
In-store video surveillance shows that the woman set a clothing rack ablaze during the couple of minutes she was inside the store, police said.
"An alert employee discovered the blaze and put it out," a statement from police read. No injuries were reported.
However, flames and smoke swelled the amount of damage to more than $550,000, police added.
"This was an intentional fire," read the Fire Department's initial incident report.
Investigators have received "very strong leads" about the woman's identity, and an arrest and charges could be coming "in the very near future," said police spokesman John Elder.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. Tips can be called in to 1-800-723-2020.
Company spokesman Andrew Mastrangelo said Monday, "We are assessing the damage and will determine a reopening date once the process is complete."
In the meantime, Mastrangelo said, the 60 or so store employees were temporarily reassigned to other Marshalls locations and "have been paid continuously since the fire."
The employees have now returned and are preparing the store for its eventual reopening, he added.