Peoria police arrest Walmart arson suspect
Rodney Wayne Cox Jr., a 34-year-old Buckeye resident, was arrested on charges of arson of an occupied structure, endangerment, and shoplifting in connection with a fire at Walmart, according to Peoria Police Sgt. Brandon Sheffert.
Peoria Police and Fire-Medical departments responded to the fire in the pet department at Walmart, 21655 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway, at about 2:20 p.m. March 17. Upon arrival, the building was evacuated and the fire was extinguished.
Officers on scene began an investigation and were advised that a similar incident had occurred at a Walmart in Glendale in March 16, Sheffert said.
“Officers on scene were checking the area and made contact with a subject who had accidentally locked himself out of his vehicle,” Sheffert said.
“While the officers were speaking with the subject, an employee alerted the officers that the male appeared to match photos from the previous incident at the Glendale Walmart. After reviewing video and comparing photos from the Glendale incident, the subject was arrested.”
According to Sheffert, Cox arrived at Walmart, spent a few hours in the store, started a fire in the pet department and stole several items on his way out.
Sheffert said there were 150 employees and 351 customers in the Peoria store when the fire was started.
When Cox was taken into custody, Glendale police responded and assisted with the investigation.
“Rodney was interviewed by detectives from both Peoria and Glendale Police and Rodney admitted to starting the fires in order to cause a distraction for the shoplifting,” Sheffert said.
“Estimates of damages caused to the Walmart stores are over several million dollars.”
Charges may be added or amended, Sheffert said.
“This arrest shows the great teamwork between multiple agencies and our business partners at Walmart. We are extremely grateful for these important partnerships that help keep our communities safe,” said Chief Art Miller.
Free community child seat safety check
The city of Goodyear is sponsoring a free community child seat safety check from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Moose Lodge parking lot, 1572 S. Cotton Lane, Goodyear.
Certified technicians and instructors will provide free installation and checks to ensure children’s safety seats are installed correctly.
Limited convertible car seats will be available, courtesy of the Glendale Fire Department.
For more information, call Tanja Tanner at 623-882-7308 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.