A Champlin man will serve three years' probation for setting fire to a Salvation Army worship and service center last fall in Brooklyn Park, causing thousands of dollars in damage and destroying hundreds of donated winter coats for those in need.
Jack D. Heinrich, 33, was sentenced Monday morning in Hennepin County District Court after pleading guilty to felony second-degree arson. He is accused of breaking into the center at 10011 Noble Parkway after hours on Nov. 3, smashing most of the building's windows, then lighting fire to a pew that was piled with coats. Heinrich also vandalized office areas, portions of the center's food shelf and two Salvation Army vehicles.
He appeared before District Judge Gina Brandt in orange prison garb for his sentencing — rescheduled from last week, when he declined the state's recommendation for mental health court. On Monday morning, Heinrich reaffirmed his decision.
Conditions of Heinrich's probation will still involve mental health treatment, including prescribed medication if a doctor deems it necessary. The Salvation Army is "very concerned about you getting mental health help," Brandt told Heinrich.
Last week, Heinrich told the judge that "I don't have any mental health concerns," and said he refused to listen to a doctor or take any medication — which would violate his probation and risk an 18-month prison sentence.
When Brandt said "prison could be the ultimate consequence of this," Heinrich responded, "I mean, given the fact that I'm homeless, it's kind of the same to me. It really doesn't matter."
As part of Heinrich's plea agreement, Brandt dismissed two other felony charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree damage to property. If Heinrich successfully completes his probation after three years, his felony level offense will be reduced.
With credit for 74 days in jail since his arrest, Heinrich is expected to serve another 16 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse before being released from custody.
Among the conditions of his probation: He must stay away from the Brooklyn Park Salvation Army and have no contact with staff at that location; undergo a cognitive skills test and work with his probation officer to find work or school; and abstain from alcohol and unprescribed drugs, which means he will be subject to random testing.
Police who responded to the arson said they matched Heinrich's clothing to what was worn by the man shown in surveillance video breaking into the church shortly after 10:40 p.m. and lighting a fire in the sanctuary.
Officers arrived and located Heinrich in the vicinity, the charges said. He was carrying a lighter, marijuana and a small glass pipe, the charges continued.
The chapel has remained closed since, as repairs continue, Salvation Army spokesman Dan Furry said.
"We were able to get back in the building the following week, except for the use of the chapel, where most of the serious damage occurred," Furry said. He said it could be six to eight months before work is complete.
More than $138,000 has been spent so far on securing the site and cleaning up fire and water damage, he said. Another $226,000 will be needed to cover damage to the closed-circuit video system, a piano, pew, furniture, carpeting, ceiling and other parts of the building, as well as a bus and a van that Heinrich pelted with rocks, Furry said.
As for who picks up the tab, he said, "The insurance company is recommending that the court make restitution part of the sentencing."
Restitution will be determined within 90 days. Hennepin County prosecutor Kevin Lin said the numbers are still being worked out, be he estimated it's "going to be a fairly large amount."