A former gym member is charged after a martial-arts gym in Olympia caught fire and left tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

Detectives with the Olympia Police Department said Andrew Clark, 31, has been charged with second-degree arson and second-degree burglary.

He was arrested on Monday, February 26, and is currently being held at the Thurston County Jail with a $2,000 bond after appearing in court.

Authorities said Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Olympia (BJJO), located on Black Lake Boulevard, caught fire on February 18 at about 9:38 p.m.

Police discovered signs and evidence that someone had tried to force their way inside the building, officials said, and found evidence of arson.

The sprinkler system put out the fire, however, it flooded the gym and damaged most of the building and its equipment.

Outside of the building near the main entrance, detectives said they found a part of a cigar including a cigar wrapper in the parking lot.

Several gym mats were soaked with gasoline.

Authorities learned that accelerant was also thrown onto the walls of the gym.

Investigators also saw a screen, near a small window by the main door, had been cut out and removed, after discovering a black knife near it.

Surveillance video captured a suspect peeking through the building’s windows and later going inside the building through a small window, near the man entrance, detectives said.

Moments later, the video shows the suspect leaving the building and captures an orange glow that appeared to look like a fire, police said.

Detectives said surveillance footage from another nearby business captured the suspect hiding behind a bush, near the Pink Elephant Car Wash.

Investigators said they found two bottles of lighter fluid where the suspect hid, along with a red gas can partially filled with gasoline at a nearby location.

The owner of the gym, Robert Owens, and other members said they believed the suspect was one of their former gym members, Andrew Clark, due to his “alarming behaviors,” the court document wrote.

Investigators said they suspected the cigar wrapper found at the scene was part of a purchase at a nearby Total Wine.

The manager of the store looked at their database and discovered the same cigar was purchased on two occasions in January.

Management showed detectives a photo of the customer involved in one transaction that happened on January 17.

Officers said the customer’s description matched the suspect shown on his social media post.

The customer’s Total Wine loyalty account included an email address, which also matched the name of the suspect’s Instagram account.

Police said the suspect’s social media account has several posts sharing his belief that he was on a “watchlist” and he was being followed. Clark also indicated in his posts that federal agents had attempted to “plant bugs to surveil him.”

Clark was also seen smoking cigars in his posts, which matched the same size and color of the cigar he had purchased from Total Wine, detectives wrote.

Someone who is willing to do that, what else are they capable of? And that danger not only to our community here, but the community at large,” said Robert Owens, the owner of BJJO, which has been around for 20 years.

Owens said he and others believed the suspect was Clark due to his “alarming behaviors.”

“We rolled up here in 4:30 in the morning. We found this individual outside with a gas can,” he described a previous incident. “It’s been sad. These have been all indications in there. We tried to address them with him personally, unfortunately, people don’t always take you up on their offers.”

We also spoke with Shane Hart, the director of operations for BJJO, about the suspect.

“Somebody we know who has struggled with different mental health issues. Since the time we’ve known them, he made some threats on social media to the community, directly challenged and confronted some members of the community,” he said.

Court documents said Clark showed “his discontentment with Owens and several gym members who work in law enforcement.”

Owens said his gym offers authorities free training, up until their blue belt, in order to keep them and residents safe, especially after the murder of George Floyd, he said.

“We take no political sides here. We’re one of the most diverse populations in Olympia,” he said. “We looked at this. If we can train law enforcement to know the appropriate use of force, it protects them. It will also protect the community. It’s a win win. Instead of an officer rolls into the scene and doesn’t feel confident in their ability to put hands on them, he goes to his fire arm. Well the ability to deescalate is virtually nil, but if he’s confident and doesn’t have to go to his firearm, and heightened use of force, everyone goes home safer.”

Owens said that the total damage is in the six figures.

However, most of the burden is left on members who rely on the facility for support, including veterans, first responders, parents, students and even children, he shared.

“Down to the anxiety-ridden six-year-old. Now all of a sudden, they don’t have access to something that was helping them. That’s the part that bothers me,” Owens said.

“We’re really protective of the community. We have a lot of small kids that come here, a lot of families, a lot of people who come here for therapy. This is what helps them stay grounded,” said Hart. “Some people were really angry. Some people were really scared. We had people walk through the door and tears were in the corners of their eyes. There are a lot of whys and a lot of people not understanding.”

A number of members volunteered their time to clean up the damage.

New mats were being placed in the gym Friday afternoon.

“We’re trying to focus on the positive and make the most of it,” said Hart.

Owens said, “I have faith in the future.”

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/brazilian-jiu-jitsu-of-olympia?qid=3f35ac4318a5d918042071d51f971dbd