Valley Walmart fire suspect arrested after getting locked out of car

Mar 19, 2021, 9:15 AM | Updated: 10:16 am
(MCSO Mugshot; Twitter Photo/Glendale Fire Department)...
(MCSO Mugshot; Twitter Photo/Glendale Fire Department)
(MCSO Mugshot; Twitter Photo/Glendale Fire Department)

PHOENIX – A man suspected of setting fire to two Walmart stores in the West Valley during business hours on consecutive days was arrested this week, authorities said.

The Peoria Police Department said Rodney Wayne Cox Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday and booked on charges including arson and endangerment. There were about 500 people inside the store near Deer Valley Road and Lake Pleasant Parkway at the time.

Officers had approached Cox, 34, of Buckeye, in the parking lot after he had locked himself out of his car.

Police said Cox told them he’d set the fire and another at a Glendale store at 83rd Avenue and Union Hills Drive on Tuesday to create a distraction while he shoplifted.

A Peoria store employee alerted officers talking to Cox in the parking lot around 2:30 p.m. that he looked like the man in surveillance photos from the Glendale fire.

The fires caused millions of dollars in damage to the stores, Peoria Police said.

No one was injured in either fire.

Cox could face additional charges, police said.

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