Mesa police arrest arson suspect after fiery $5 million Target rampage
Jul 3, 2023, 8:00 PM
PHOENIX — Mesa shoppers hoping for shirts, diapers and other goods last Tuesday found smoky aisles and burnt merchandise in the Target near Southern Avenue and Longmore Street.
That’s because an arsonist caused $5 million’s worth of damage, according to Mesa Police Department.
Mesa police officers arrived at the 1230 South Longmore store at around 10 p.m.
“Officers ran inside the store with a fire extinguisher, yelling to make sure no one else was inside,” a department blog post said.
The smoke was too strong, so the officers had to initially retreat and call for help from the Mesa Fire Department.
“In a joint investigation with Mesa Fire, officers learned that two separate fires were started inside the store: one in the baby diaper aisle and the other, a piece of clothing on the floor,” according to police.
Between the toxic smoke infecting the merchandise and sprinklers inflicting water damage, the fire damaged everything in the store, officials said.
The Target arson suspect wasn’t on the scene
Surveillance video helped officers identify the suspect, 31-year-old Daniel Hull.
Security cameras showed him shopping and placing items into a cart. He picked up a shirt that looked like a burnt article of clothing officers later found at the scene.
“He hastily moves from the area, toward electronics as smoke is starting to invade the store,” police said. “The man watches the fire grow and then attempts to break into a case of cell phones with a hammer but is unsuccessful.”
After his robbery attempt crashed and burned, Hull allegedly looked for easier goods to snatch. As one of the last people to leave the store, he took several items into his black sedan, police said.
As luck would have it, police didn’t have to launch an investigation. They already had him in police custody on an unrelated charge.
Hull later admitted to starting the fire, police said.