Former employee set Goodwill on fire, search warrant states - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Former employee set Goodwill on fire, search warrant states

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A former employee is being blamed for setting a two-alarm fire caused heavy damage to a Goodwill store located on the 6600 block of South Boulevard two weeks ago.

According to a search warrant issued by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, store employees say the suspect was fired from the business one day before the fire was set.

The Loss Prevention supervisor told officers that an employee was fired on February 22 and was extremely angry about it. The store was torched the next night.

According to emergency crews, flames broke out at the store shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday night.

When firefighters arrived on the scene they observed heavy smoke conditions, and soon after called for a second alarm to assist in searching the building and putting out the flames, a fire department spokesperson said.

According to the search warrant obtained by WBTV, the former employee was identified as 24-year-old Brittany Virginia Williams.

Surveillance video from the Goodwill store and the neighboring businesses shows a two-tone older model vehicle pull into the parking lot next to the business, carrying a car jack and a gas can, the warrant states.

Video then shows the suspect, believed to be Williams, then used the jack to break the glass on the door and entered the Goodwill.

That is when an "ignitable liquid [was poured] throughout the store and used a wood stick to ignite the ignitable liquid vapors, causing combustible materials inside the store to ignite."

According to the warrant, a box of wood stick matches were dropped as the suspect ran away from the store and several matches were dropped in the parking lot.

Employees at the store described Williams vehicle as similar to the vehicle seen at the store before the fire.

When officers went to Williams home on Southwood Oaks Lane, the warrant states, they found stick matches on the driver side flood board, consistent with matches found at the scene of the fire.

Officers searched Williams vehicle and found an envelope with three wooden matches, a metal lighter in the glovebox and a car jack in the trunk of the vehicle.

The day after the fire, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont sent a letter to WBTV saying that the fire appeared to be intentionally set after a break-in at the store. The Charlotte Fire Department later confirmed the fire was the work of an arsonist.

"Unbelievable," said Goodwill Industries marketing director Holly Cooper, as she stood inside the burned-out store. "I assumed it was some sort of electrical problem, something happened, but in my wildest imagination I didn't think it could've been arson."

No injuries were reported in the fire, and Goodwill says it is thankful for that.

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