LPD: Man who allegedly set 2 fires at Walmart in custody

LPD: Man who allegedly set 2 fires at Walmart in custody

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Not long after the Lufkin Police Department obtained an arrest warrant for the man suspected of setting two fires at the Walmart Supercenter located at 2500 Daniel McCall, Sgt. David Casper announced that Christopher Leon Burch, 32, had been taken into custody.

Burch, a Lufkin resident, was arrested and charged with second-degree felony arson. No information was available on his bail amount.

Lufkin Police Department investigators requested the warrant after they identified Burch as the suspect who allegedly set two fires at Walmart. LPD investigators are seeking the public's help in locating Burch.

According to the police report, Lufkin PD officers were dispatched out to the Walmart store at 9:29 p.m. Wednesday. When they got to the store, an assistant manager, who told them that unknown suspect had started a fire in the garden area and another one in a hay bin.

The manager told the officers that he and two other employees had gone on a walk-through of the garden area about 10 minutes before the fires started. At that time, they didn't see anyone or any signs of a fire, the report stated.

The Walmart employees were alerted to the fires by the smoke alarms going off. Fast-acting employees used fire extinguishers to put out both fires.

As one of the officers went further into the store, he noticed thick smoke throughout the store. According to the report, Walmart employees put a big fan at the front to pull the smoke out of the store.

When the officer went to the garden area of the store, he found two trashcans with Christmas ornaments in them. Both the Christmas ornaments and the trashcans were burned, as was a nearby counter.

Further investigation revealed that the suspect was caught on surveillance video. The possible suspect appeared to be a white man wearing a red shirt, red pajama pants, black or dark shoes, and a white cap with shades on the front of the hat.

The subject was seen in the area where the fire occurred. He was also seen walking out of the same aisle where the burned trashcans and ornaments were found, and he was seen just minutes before the smoke appeared.

The suspect then attempted to exit through the garden center double doors, but the doors had been locked at 9 p.m. Then the suspect exited the store on the grocery side. He was seen walking by the hay bin at 9:22 p.m.

"It was hard to tell on the video, but it appeared that the subject may have been smoking a cigarette as he was walking by the hay bin," the police report stated. The suspect apparently had his hand near his face as if he was smoking.

A few minutes after the suspect walked by the hay bin, employees noticed that it was on fire. According to the police report, the surveillance video then showed the man walking off toward Whataburger.

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