Former Goodwill employee pleads guilty to arson - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Former Goodwill employee pleads guilty to arson

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Brittany Williams Brittany Williams
Harry Brown Harry Brown
Terrance Chandler Terrance Chandler
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A former Goodwill employee accused of setting fire to the business after being fired appeared in court Tuesday for her plea hearing.  

Brittany Williams pleaded guilty to one count of arson and one count of an unregistered firearm, a Molotov cocktail. She faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and a max of 20 years.

Williams and two men, Harry Brown and Terrance Chandler, are facing federal charges for the incident.

The Goodwill store on South Boulevard went up in flames in February 2012. Within weeks, former employee Williams was blamed for setting the two-alarm fire.

Investigators say surveillance video from the Goodwill store and neighboring businesses showed a two-tone, older model vehicle pull into the parking lot next door. In that video, investigators say Williams used a car jack to break the glass on the door and enter the store.

Arson investigators say an "ignitable liquid" was poured throughout the store. The warrant states the arsonist dropped a box of wood stick matches as they ran away.

Police questioned Goodwill employees. Workers talked about Brittany Williams, who was fired the day before the fire. The Loss Prevention Supervisor told investigators Williams was extremely angry when she was fired.

Goodwill employees also described Williams' vehicle as similar to the one seen in the surveillance video, just before the fire.

Officers went to Williams' home on Southwood Oaks Lane. According to a warrant, officers searched the vehicle and found stick matches on the driver side floor board, consistent with matches found at the fire, officials said.

The warrant states officers also found an envelope with three wooden matches, a metal lighter in the glove box, and a car jack in the trunk.

Williams and Chandler appeared in federal court in November. Williams pleaded not guilty and waived a detention hearing.

Chandler also pleaded not guilty in November. He was released on bond.

The Goodwill store reopened September 22, 2012.

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