Police: Walmart arsonist visited store previous day
Published 6:05 pm Monday, January 13, 2014
Police say the person responsible for starting a fire at the Niles Walmart Sunday morning was mostly likely at the store the previous morning attempting to steal electronics.
Detective Greg Sanders, of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, said store surveillance shows a person attempting to steal items from the Apple products counter in the early morning hours Saturday. That person left empty-handed when an employee walked by, Sanders said.
Police believe that the same individual is also responsible for setting fire to clothes in the infant department shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday. After setting the fire, the suspect went to the electronics department where he stole an unknown amount of electronics from the Apple products counter.
“We don’t want to give the exact number, but the cost of those items is in the thousands of dollars,” Sanders said.
While the person was wearing a ski mask Sunday, Sanders said the person in the surveillance video Saturday was not masked.
Sanders said the suspect used some type of liquid to start the fire. The suspect also took off a coat and produced a duffel bag before stealing the electronics, Sanders added.
Video shows the person coming to and leaving the Walmart both mornings in a dark colored, four-door sedan, according to Sanders.
Sanders said the suspect’s vehicle was followed out Sunday by an employee who noticed there was no license plate on the car.
Based on the surveillance video, the suspect is described as a white male with a thin build, wearing brown pants, a dark colored shirt and a mask.
There is no suspect at this time.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department at (269) 983-7141 ext. 6242.