A former West Palm Beach firefighter has been charged with arson and theft after starting a fire at a Walmart to create a distraction while stealing merchandise. Police say Kenneth Gray along with another man and a woman set a display inside the store on fire. They had placed several Halloween items inside a shopping cart before causing the distraction.
Firefighters evacuated the store due to the fire and the three were later identified by police. The incident happened on October 26 at a Walmart on Belvedere Road.
The fire was started to cause a distraction and surveillance video allegedly shows Gray pushing the shopping cart with all the merchandise. The shopping cart was pushed out of the store without anyone paying while employees were distracted by the fire. The three were picked up outside of the store. Gray was identified shortly after by some of the members of the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue.
Gray had been arrested back in September after stealing and pawning equipment from an ambulance. The former firefighter was out on bond when the incident happened at the Walmart.
Gray is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail and he appeared before a judge on Wednesday. Authorities are also investigating to see if his wife was involved. Amanda Gray says he is absolutely innocent and recently told local media again that he is innocent. She said during an interview with NewsChannel 5 that she wasn’t actually with him but that she knows. She added that she knows he didn’t do the fire at all.
The case could take a strange turn though as it was later revealed that police suspect she was involved. Authorities believe she may have been the one driving the vehicle that picked them up. Detectives say the fourth suspect matched the description of Amanda Gray.
Kenneth Gray is being held on a $27,000 bail and if he is released, he will be under house arrest. Authorities said back in September that Gray had been fired in February when he was arrested for stealing.
The fire started at the Walmart caused more than $40,000 in damages. No one else has been arrested over the incident. Police are now investigating to find out who was driving the car that picked them up.