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 Peoria Fire-Medical 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.
Check out the Sustainable
Sustainable University continues to host workshops through March and April. Tune into the next two workshops on Saturdays March 27 and April 10.
“The Best Small Desert Trees” is at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 27. A tree that is too big for its location will eventually lead to the damage of surrounding sidewalks, neighbor disputes, and eventually the huge cost of removal. In this class, a certified arborist will go over small to moderate tree options that work with the desert climate, including photos, pros, cons, and tips on special care.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, April 10, “Wildlife Friendly Landscapes” is the workshop’s topic. Now more than ever the native wildlife needs help to continue to thrive in urban areas. You can help by turning your yard into a mini wildlife sanctuary. It is easy to create an inviting environment for birds, butterflies and other creatures using a wonderful array of native and desert adapted plants. For more information about Sustainable U, visit peoriaaz.gov/sustainability.
Enter the Picture Peoria
Residents are invited to share their favorite photo of something distinctly Peoria and enter to win the Picture Peoria Photo Contest. Participants must fill out the online entry form and submit their photo to the Dropbox link at https://tinyurl.com/9sprc8nu. There will be cash prizes for first, second and third place and gift cards for honorable mentions. Winners will have the chance to display their photography in select Peoria businesses. Photo submissions will be accepted until March 31.
Future city council meetings
The Peoria City Council will meet for a budget study session at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, followed by a regular city council meeting at 6 p.m. in chambers, 8401 W. Monroe Street.
The meeting agenda and information are available at peoriaaz.gov/council. City council meetings and study sessions are broadcast live through Cox Channel 11, CenturyLink Channel 8509, Facebook (facebook.com/CityofPeoriaAz) and YouTube (Digital Peoria).