A woman who allegedly set a fire inside a Target store in Buena Park, California, as a diversion to steal baby formula, has been arrested by the police. The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Cynthia Torres, was taken into custody on Tuesday, a week after the incident.
According to the Buena Park Police Department, Torres intentionally set the fire on September 5, 2023, around 7:15 p.m., in the children’s clothing section of the Target store located at 7530 Orangethorpe Avenue.
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The fire triggered the sprinkler system and forced the evacuation of employees and customers. No injuries were reported, but the fire caused an estimated $500,000 to $1 million in damage to the building and merchandise, mainly due to water and smoke damage.
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The Orange County Fire Authority arson investigators and Buena Park police conducted a joint investigation and determined that Torres was responsible for the fire. It was unclear how authorities found the suspect.
Police said that Torres set the fire as a distraction to steal baby formula from the store. The motive for the theft was not disclosed. Torres faces charges of arson and grand theft. She is being held at the Orange County Jail. The Target store remains closed until further notice.