A former Wal-Mart employee was arrested after he set fire to a stuffed animal in the store after he was fired, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
The ensuing blaze Saturday at the store at 5810 Ranch Lake Blvd. caused at least $250,000 in damage, according a probable cause affidavit filed in the case.
The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office confirmed that the fire was set intentionally and the store was evacuated and closed for several hours. A Wal-Mart employee suffered from minor smoke inhalation, the office said.
According to the report, 20-year-old Tiberrus Brown was fired around 11 p.m. Friday because he lied on his time card. He remained on the property until 7 a.m. Saturday, which is when the fire was started, the report said.
Loss prevention surveillance footage showed Brown walking into the G2 toy aisle before the fire and leaving a few seconds after. Moments later, according to the affidavit, he is seen on the video reentering the store, looking toward the area of the toy aisle and leaving again.
After being read his Miranda rights, Brown said he was playing with a borrowed lighter in the G2 aisle of Wal-Mart and that the ear of a teddy bear may have caught fire, according to the affidavit.
Brown was charged with first-degree arson of an occupied dwelling and is being held at the Manatee County jail on a $75,000 bond. The fire marshal’s office said the incident is still under investigation.