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Black Hills Arson Suspect Arrested 3 Years Later

March 2, 2006, 6:57 PM by Andy Harvey

Black Hills Arson Suspect Arrested 3 Years Later
Rapid City Investigators arrested a man suspected of starting the Keystone fire that destroyed ten businesses in 2003. Twenty-seven-year old Sage Paulson of Keystone is now charged with two counts of arson.

The town's been rebuilt; wiped clean of any sign of the fire that tore through the heart of Keystone in June 2003, causing nearly two million dollars in damage.

Pennington County Deputy State's Attorney Lara Roetzel said, "The fire was actually started right in front of what was the Railhead Family Restaurant."

It quickly spread to The White House Resort and to nearby businesses. At the time, police believed Sage Paulson of Keystone was responsible for igniting the first flame. But authorities couldn't arrest him just yet.

Lt. Lynn McLane, with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, said, "We didn't have enough information or evidence at that time to proceed with any charges against the suspect."

Then just a few months ago, they got a break in the case.

Roetzel said, "There was a very important witness that came forward who was instrumental in closing the investigation."

That witness lead a grand jury to indict the 27-year old with second and third degree arson. A development that could bring closure for a community that nearly lost its town.

Roetzel said, "We really feel great about being able to finally charge someone with this crime and hopefully give Keystone a little bit of justice for what they underwent in 2003."

Paulson is already serving time in prison for an unrelated burglary charge. Authorities plan to bring him to Rapid City to face these new charges.

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