Man arrested after fire causes 'millions of dollars' in damage to Campbell River Walmart
VICTORIA -- A 27-year-old man is in custody following an allegedly intentionally set fire and heist at a Walmart in Campbell River last week.
The fire and theft occurred around 10 p.m. on Oct. 1. Video taken by a customer at the store shows a fire burning in the toilet paper aisle as smoke fills the local Walmart.
Now, Campbell River RCMP say that thousands of dollars worth of electronics, including phones and iPads, were stolen as the store was being evacuated due to the fire.
Police are warning islanders to be wary of buying any electronics online if a deal seems “too good to be true,” as items like phones and tablets can be disabled by manufacturers if they are reported stolen.
While the fire was relatively small and contained by both Walmart employees and firefighters, Mounties say the fire and smoke still caused “millions of dollars” worth of damage.
The Campbell River Walmart remains closed and will be shuttered through the Thanksgiving long weekend. Police say that no reopening date has been determined yet.
“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,” Walmart told the Campbell River RCMP in a statement.
Police say the 27-year-old man, who remains in police custody, is facing recommended charges of arson with a disregard for human life, theft over $5,000 and mischief over $5,000.
Campbell River RCMP say the fire is a blow to the community, as the Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the city.
“This was and continues to be a group effort for our detachment,” said Insp. Jeff Preston of the Campbell River RCMP. “The professionalism and skill with which our officers have conducted this investigation has provided the opportunity to hold the correct person accountable.”
Mounties say the maximum sentence for arson is life in prison, and the maximum sentence for theft and mischief is 10 years each.