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Published June 06, 2012, 09:04 PM

2 Arrested in Beltrami County Cross Burning

(WDAZ-TV) - Two Bemidji men have been arrested in connection to a cross burning in a Northern Township yard that happened May 25.

By: WDAZ Staff Report, WDAZ

(WDAZ-TV) - Two Bemidji men have been arrested in connection to a cross burning in a Northern Township yard that happened May 25.

On Wednesday, deputies with the Beltrami County Sheriff's Department, along with the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, arrested 20-year-old Derek Daniel Barnes and 19-year-old Ryan Fairbanks Andree.

Both men are being held at the Beltrami County Jail on suspicion of terroristic threats and use of explosive or incendiary devices. The case remains under investigation and was forwarded to the Beltrami County Attorney's Office for review.

Authorities say a woman was at the home alone at about 12:40 a.m. on May 25 when she noticed the eight-foot flaming cross and spotted someone fleeing on foot from the area. The woman was able to douse the flames before deputies arrived.

A racist message and other "racist artifacts" were found on the cross, according to Sheriff Phil Hodapp.

The woman who found the cross is white and her two adult children have an African American father. The burning is being investigated as a bias crime, allowing for stiffer potential penalties. State law defines a bias crime as conduct committed because of a victim’'s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.

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