‘Something was up’: Locals react to G.I. Joe’s owner charged with burning building

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. (WLNE) — The owner of an Army Navy store in North Attleborough is accused of setting it on fire earlier this month.

On Friday, authorities confirmed the owner of G.I. Joe’s Army and Navy store, Vicki Bertelsen, 46, of Norfolk, is charged with setting the building on fire.

Bertelsen was released on $5,000 cash bail with a set of conditions for her alleged involvement in the Aug. 1 fire at the business that’s been selling surplus military clothing and items for a quarter-century.

People in the community told ABC 6 News that they felt something was strange after hearing about the fire at the staple store.

“Somebody had started a fire behind the building. Lately, I heard rumors that the lady that owns it started the fire in one of the cabinets,” said Patricia Stein of Plainville.

A nearby business owner said she knew something was odd when she heard the news about the fire in early August.

Sue Pace-McComb, a business owner in North Attleborough, said, “I heard about the fire in the beginning of the month of August and you could tell something was up. It was closed but then they said there was going to be an auction but it was not advertised.”

Pace-McComb added that G.I. Joe’s was a thriving business before it closed.

“I just feel bad because they had such a thriving business for years. Even during the tough times, he always had people in there, he had a helicopter outside for people to play with, it is just sad.” McComb said.

Bertelsen was ordered to stay away from G.I. Joe’s and her case is set to continue on Oct. 27 for a probable cause hearing.

Categories: Massachusetts, News