Man convicted in 1995 of cutting Fargo's underground cables sentenced in Minnesota arson case
FARGO — A man convicted in 1995 of cutting underground phone cables in Fargo was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for arson in Dakota County, Minn.
Michael Duane Damron, also known as Wade Duane Arvidson, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony arson Oct. 14 and was sentenced Friday, Oct. 28.
Damron, 53, of Prior Lake, was arrested in connection with a 2013 fire that damaged the historic Eagan Town Hall. As part of the sentencing, Damron was ordered to pay $21,900 to the Eagan Fire Department and $286,400 to the city of Eagan.
His brother, Wynn Donald Arvidson, also pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and will be sentenced in January.
Wynn Arvidson's surveillance system, seized by investigators, recorded them building ignition devices and starting a fire in their driveway just days before the town hall fire, according to a criminal complaint. Another clue that led detectives to the brothers was a fresh pile of feces that matched the DNA of Damron's brother found not far from the town hall near a chain-link fence that had been cut, the complaint states.
Damron was also convicted of felony burglary on Oct. 28 in a separate case. The Dakota County Attorney's Office ordered Damron to pay about $160,000 in restitution for the burglary.
In 1995, Damron was an electrical engineering student at North Dakota State University when he was convicted of cutting through 19 underground phone cables to disable an alarm at Site on Sound in Fargo. He was convicted of stealing $80,000 in equipment from the car-stereo business. FBI agents captured him in 1996 in an Iowa hotel room after a two-year manhunt, according to The Forum's archives.
Damron spent about eight years in prison for the cable-cutting incident that caused $1 million in damage and interrupted phone service for 20,000 people.