- Associated Press
Friday, March 19, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) - A man considered a suspect in separate arson incidents in Peoria and Glendale has been arrested, according to authorities.

Peoria police said 34-year old Rodney Wayne Cox Jr. of Buckeye is jailed on suspicion of arson of an occupied structure, endangerment and shoplifting.

It was unclear Thursday if Cox has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.

Peoria police and fire crews responded Wednesday afternoon to a fire at a Walmart that resulted in the evacuation of about 150 employees and 350 customers.

The fire was confined to the pet department, and no injuries were reported.

The officers on the scene began an investigation and were advised that a similar incident had occurred at a Walmart in Glendale the day before.

Police said they encountered a man who had accidentally locked himself out of his vehicle, and a Walmart employee told officers that the man appeared to match photos from the Glendale incident.

Cox was interviewed by police detectives from both Peoria and Glendale and allegedly admitted to starting the fires to cause a distraction so he could shoplift items from the stores.

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