Connie L. Bigelow at her store Miniatures & More in Edmonds on Tuesday. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)

Connie L. Bigelow at her store Miniatures & More in Edmonds on Tuesday. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)

Edmonds store owner accused of burning down her business

The suspect, who owns a miniature doll store, was indicted for arson and wire fraud in a 2018 fire.

EDMONDS — The owner of a collectible miniature doll store in Edmonds was arrested Thursday for allegedly setting fire to her shop and attempting to collect insurance money.

Connie Bigelow, 52, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle for arson and wire fraud related to the April 2018 fire at her business, CJN Miniatures LLC. She could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives investigated the alleged arson.

The store, which opened in September 2017 at 23030 Highway 99, sold miniatures and collectibles, consigned items and rented out space to vendors.

Bigelow was struggling to make enough money to pay rent for her business, according to charging papers. Between October 2017 and April 2018, she reportedly fell behind on payments and bounced checks as she overdrafted her bank account.

According to the charges, Bigelow allegedly set the fire on April 30, 2018, beneath three Thomas Kinkade paintings, each worth thousands of dollars.

Afterward, she told the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that when she left, “there was no smoke, smell or anything that seemed out of the ordinary,” according to charging papers. She allegedly told her insurance representatives that someone broke into her business and lit the fire.

On May 1, 2018, she put in a claim with her insurance company. She carried a policy with State Farm covering up to $100,000 in loss of business property and loss of income. The policy didn’t cover claims involving arson.

Bigelow reopened her store almost exactly a year after her business burned down. The new shop, under Hamburger Harry’s on Fifth Avenue in Edmonds, is named Miniatures & More.

Two days before her arrest, a business reporter with The Daily Herald interviewed Bigelow for an unrelated story.

Bigelow said previously she was a personal care provider and that her daughter’s interest in crafts inspired her to start her own business.

She mentioned there was a fire at her old location but didn’t say how it started.

“I was completely devastated,” she said.

Bigelow wrote prolifically about the fire on her Facebook page, providing updates about the aftermath, complaining about how insurance wouldn’t give her money and posting photos depicting charred furniture and soot-covered dolls.

“We each did interviews with the investigators and boy did they make me feel like I was the person who started it,” she wrote on May 3. “I even told them they made me feel that way. Even though I had left the building at 5:45 and the fires were called in at 7:15.”

On May 12, she posted a photo of herself, with teardrops rolling down her cheeks.

“Finally being able to go into the store has finally overwhelmed me,” she wrote in the caption. “I am like a non-stop crying fountain most of the time. My dreams, hard work of 4 years, mine & so many others items gone has broken me. Shattered dreams are hard enough to deal with, but add on the pressure of all the items gone, dealing with investigators, & knowing everything I worked so hard for gone & I am heart broken.”

Bigelow linked several times to a GoFundMe titled “Fire Devastates Cancer Patient,” which raised nearly $3,000. Another fundraiser she linked to raised about $360.

Several people responded to Bigelow’s Facebook posts, offering their condolences.

“Is the cause known?” one person commented.

Bigelow wrote back: “arson.”

Herald writer Janice Podsada contributed to this story.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Two brother bear cubs, burned in a fire last summer, were recently reunited at PAWS in Lynnwood. (PAWS) 20211129
Bear cubs, burned in wildfires, reunited in viral video in Lynnwood

The brother cubs are being treated at PAWS Wildlife Center. They were injured in a wildfire near Lake Chelan.

The Pacific Ice rink under construction at Port of Everett on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett unveils seasonal ice rink on the waterfront

The outdoor rink will be open through the end of January. The port plans for it to return annually.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 identified in deadly T-bone crash in Everett

Otila Retel Azanedo de Jones, 67, and William Jones, 85, died at the scene.

Reagan Dunn to take on U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier in 8th District

The Republican is challenging incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier in a district which could include a slice of Snohomish County.

A man died after he was found with gunshot wounds Saturday in downtown Everett. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Man dead after shooting in downtown Everett

The man, believed to be in his 40s, was found near California Street and Rockefeller Avenue.

Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander of Puget Sound-based Carrier Strike Group 11, in Bremerton on Nov. 23, 2021. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Justin McTaggart)
From Everett, this rear admiral commands a Navy strike group

Christopher Sweeney leads Carrier Strike Group 11, a force of aircraft and ships stretching from here to San Diego.

Charges: Everett ID thief tried to buy wheels, speakers, more

The man, 33, was charged this week with 10 counts of identity theft in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Jacob Akers in his replica Dude sweater from The Big Leboswki on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dude, you’re knitting some bodacious ‘Big Lebowski’ sweaters

Jacob Akers, 29, a Costco shelf stocker, knits cardigans made famous by the 1998 cult classic guy flick.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

Most Read