KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Police say a Bible college student charged with setting fire to an adult bookstore confessed to the crime after realizing it was a sin.
Benjamin Daniel Warren, 20, is a student at Crown College, a fundamental Baptist college and seminary of about 900 students in Knoxville.
Warren waived a preliminary hearing this week, and a grand jury is considering his case. His attorney, Chris Coffey, did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.
Authorities said a man wearing black clothing and a ski mask and carrying what proved to be a fake gun entered the Town and Country Bookstore on Jan. 31 and asked the clerk if anyone was inside. Assured the store was empty, he ordered the clerk to leave.
He poured about six gallons of "an ignitable liquid" inside the bookstore and set it on fire, according to an arrest warrant.
No one was injured, but the fire destroyed $600,000 in merchandise and caused up to $300,000 in damage to the building, owner David Stubbs said.
Police had no clue to the masked man's identity until Warren surrendered April 11.