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20-year-old accused of setting fire to Tampa Champs store identified by DOJ

Crime

TAMPA (WFLA) — The man suspected of setting fire to a Tampa Champs store during protests and riots in late May has been arrested and identified by authorities.

The US Department of Justice said 20-year-old Terrance Lee Hester, Jr. surrendered to federal authorities in Oswego, New York last week.

Hester was arrested May 4 for operating an unregistered vehicle.
(Photo: Pinellas Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Video released by the Tampa Police Department last month shows a shirtless man throwing a burning object into the store window the night of the riots. The DOJ said the building became fully engulfed in fire, resulting in an estimated $1.25 million in damages to the Champs store and other businesses in the plaza.

Authorities said video footage confirmed Hester threw a flaming piece of cloth into the Champs store through a broken window. Fire investigators reportedly confirmed to the DOJ that Hester’s act “caused or contributed to the cause of the fire.”

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Tampa Police Department.

The police department arrested 41 individuals that night.

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