December 1, 2020

Officials: Fire set in Mississippi hardware store in order to steal merchandise

Columbus officials are investigating a suspicious fire that they believe was intentionally set in a local hardware store in order to steal merchandise in another part of the store.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that firefighters responded to a fire call at the local Lowe’s on Military Road. Columbus Fire and Rescue Chief Martin Andrews said a mop was set on fire in the store, which triggered the store’s sprinkler system. By the time firefighters arrived the fire was most extinguished by the sprinklers.

Officials believe the fire was set to create a distraction in order to steal a pressure washer from the store.

Investigators are currently reviewing store surveillance footage for leads in the incident. Suspects will face charges of felony arson and misdemeanor shoplifting.

No one was injured during the incident. The sprinkler system dumped a large amount of water on store merchandise, leaving about six inches of water in part of the store. The extent of the water damage wasn’t known.