Fires in three Walmart locations cause $12 million in damage

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Photo by Darien Funk

A series of fires were set at three Walmart locations in Kitchener-Waterloo during the night of Oct. 20, which caused a combined $12 million in damages.

The Waterloo Regional Police Services (WRPS) arrested two suspects on Oct. 24, a 21-year-old Paris Ontario man, Ramlengun Permauloo, and a second individual who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Further police investigation has revealed that the two suspects also pulled fire alarms at other stores in Cambridge and Brantford.

Permauloo has been charged with arson, disregard for human life and false alarm–fire, and was released on bail, with his next court appearance set for November.

According to the WRPS, Permauloo could be facing additional charges.

The fires were started in the toilet paper and paper towel aisles of the Ottawa Street South and Ottawa Street North locations in Kitchener, as well as the Bridgeport East Walmart in Waterloo.

Similar incidents happened on Oct. 1 at a Vancouver Island Walmart, as well as a Montreal Walmart on Oct. 23, with fires also started in the toilet paper sections.

The motive is believed to be related to mandatory mask policies.

Anti-mask social media posts are being investigated, such as a tweet from user kdub420 that was originally posted on Sept. 30: “Does anyone in Kitchener/Waterloo want to start attacking places like Walmart who are refusing #canadians service because they have a medical condition that isn’t covid? Does anyone actually want to take the next step and start fighting back? If so message me #onpoli #cdnpoli.”

There are currently no target opening dates for any of the Walmarts affected in the area, and will remain closed as they are cleaned and under repairs.

More info to come.


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