A 27-year-old man has been arrested following an arson fire and theft at a Walmart in Campbell River last week.
The theft occurred around 10 p.m. on October 1. A video circulating online shows a fire burning in the toilet paper aisle as smoke fills the store.
It was determined the fire was intentionally set as a diversion tactic to enable a very significant theft from the store.
Thousands of dollars worth of electronics, including phones and iPads, were stolen as the store was being evacuated.
RCMP are warning the public to avoid any “too good to be true” prices for electronics.
“It’s very buyer beware, as items that are stolen can be disabled by the manufacturer when they are brought online,” reads a statement released by RCMP on Friday.
The small blaze which ended up causing damage in the millions of dollars temporarily shuttered one of the largest retailers in Campbell River for the Thanksgiving long weekend, with no reopening date set at this time.
“We’re doing everything we can to re-open the store… We need to ensure the store is safe and up to the standards Campbell River customers expect,” a spokesperson for Walmart told the Campbell River RCMP in a statement.
The suspect from Campbell River is facing recommended charges of arson with a disregard for human life, theft over $5,000 and mischief over $5,000.
“This was and continues to be a group effort for our detachment,” said Inspector Jeff Preston. “The professionalism and skill with which our officers have conducted this investigation has provided the opportunity to hold the correct person accountable.”
The maximum sentence for arson is life in prison, and the maximum sentence for theft and mischief is 10 years each.
There were no injuries caused by the fire.