West Palm Beach, Florida, USA : Kenneth Gray made his first appearance in court on Wednesday. “The charge is of first degree arson and petty theft,” the judge said. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says 34-year-old Kenneth Gray – a former West Palm Beach Fire Department employee – along with his wife and other accomplices, started a fire inside of a Walmart and stole several items during the chaos. Deputies say Gray and three other accomplices were at a Wal-mart on Belvedere Road and Military Trail on Oct. 26.
The cops say Kenneth Gray is charged with arson and retail theft after being seen on surveillance walking around the area where the fire was started then leaving the store without paying for items in his cart.
Kenneth Gray was seen on surveillance putting several items in a shopping car and placing it near the store’s main entrance. Deputies say he then stopped to talk to a man, a person deputies say is an accomplice, before walking back to the area where the fire started.
Kenneth Gray is seen walking around the area, leaving, then returning. Moments later, the fire becomes visible as Gray leaves the area for a second time, according to the report.
While employees tried to put the fire out, Kenneth Gray took the cart full of items and walked out of the store without paying for them, according to deputies. He is seen on camera talking to the same man again and a woman, later identified as Angela Alvin.
Once Kenneth Gray was outside, deputies say he stopped to talk to another woman, who deputies identified as his wife, Amanda. Deputies say she was driving a gold 2001 Lexus SUV around the parking lot and met Gray in a different location, where he put the stolen items in her car.
Several days later, deputies say they received several tips to Crime Stoppers identifying the suspect as Kenneth Gray.
According to the sheriff’s office, the fire caused damages totaling over $41,000. Deputies say shoppers were inside the Wal-mart at the time of the fire, but no one was hurt.
Kenneth Grayis charged with first degree arson to an occupied structure and retail theft.
According to the arrest report, Gray was fired from the West Palm Beach Fire department in January. Months later, he was arrested and charged with stealing equipment from the department’s ambulance trucks and selling the equipment to a pawnshop.
Court records reveal officers arrested him in September, stating he stole an electrical saw from a city fire rescue ambulance.
Officers said video from a pawn shop in Magnolia Park captured Gray’s wife pawning the saw.
When questioned by police, Gray admitted to stealing the saw and a thermal imaging camera from his former employer.
He is also facing other theft and burglary charges.