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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Kansas woman charged after investigation of Avoca Arrow Mart fire

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  • A Kansas woman has been arrested following an investigation into a fire which destroyed the Avoca Arrow Mart in early May, according to Bath-based New York State Police.
    Elicia M. Nichols, 26, of Topeka, Kansas, was charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief, both Class D felonies, according to Sr. Inv. Curt Eaton.
    Nichols is currently being held in Topeka as a fugitive from justice and is being extradited to New York.
    State police have been investigating a fire reported around 4 a.m. May 5 fire at the Arrow Mart, at 99 Main St., as well as a stolen vehicle report and multiple reports of property stolen from vehicles in Avoca the same night.
    State police investigators, along with the Steuben County Fire Investigation Team and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, determined the fire was of an incendiary nature, according to Eaton.
    Multiple leads were investigated, Nichols was identified as a suspect, and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
    Eaton said the burglary charge stems from Nichols allegedly illegally entering the Arrow Mart, and the criminal mischief charge relates to damage allegedly caused in the building.
    Nichols has not been charged with arson, but she is a suspect in the fire, said Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker.
    Baker said authorities also have evidence that she possessed or used property allegedly stolen from vehicles that night.
    Eaton acknowledged that the charges filed were essentially the minimum necessary to guarantee extradition by Kansas authorities.
    He said he couldn’t discuss the evidence against Nichols and what led authorities to her because the investigation is ongoing.
    More charges are pending in the case based on possible action by a Steuben County grand jury.

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