11-Year-Old Arrested for Pair of Fires at Coral Springs Kohl's

Police say boy who set fire to store ignited last's week's blaze at same location

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    Police say boy who set fire to store ignited last's week's blaze at same location. (Published Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012)

    An 11-year-old was arrested Thursday after police say he set a fire inside a Coral Springs Kohl's –  just as he did last week, police said.

    Both times the Coconut Creek child’s M.O. was the same: he went up to the second floor of the Kohl’s at 9001 W. Atlantic Boulevard, doused lighter fluid on clothing, and lit it, police said.

    "He actually grabbed clothing off the shelves in the women’s department and put the accelerant and lit the clothing on fire,” Lt. Joe McHugh said of the latest fire, which was reported around 12:30 p.m.

    There were no reported injuries.

    However, Kohl’s is reporting property damage of about $1 million from the blazes, including the sprinkler system being set off, which damaged other store items.

    Last Monday, Jan. 9 the Coral Springs Fire Department rushed to the same location, and police were able to get a surveillance photo of the preteen. So the second time around, they knew who to look for.

    "An employee actually witnessed him running from the scene. Once we realized it was connected, we overwhelmed the mall with officers,” McHugh said.

    Police spotted the child sitting on the curb and arrested him on the scene. McHugh says it's often the thrill of not getting caught that can motivate kids to play with flames.

    "Sometimes if they get away with fires they develop into greater crimes, sometimes burning larger buildings and larger buildings,” he said. “Somebody could get hurt or killed."

    One person was treated for smoke inhalation in the Jan. 9 fire.

    Authorities have not released the boy's identity. The 11-year-old faces two felony counts of arson and has been sent to a juvenile detention center. It is up to the state attorney’s office to decide whether or not to charge him as an adult.