The Dover Police Department has arrested a suspect in the July 10th arson that occurred at a Target department store as a result of a joint investigation with the City of Dover Fire Marshal’s Office, according to Police Public Information Office Sergeant Mark Hoffman.
Hoffman said through the collection and examination of in-store surveillance footage and physical evidence from the store, Desmond Smith (26), was identified as the sole suspect in the arson.
It is believed that Smith set the fire as a diversion to steal a cart full of merchandise from the business said Hoffman. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Smith and executed a search warrant at his residence in the 900 Block of Whatcoat Drive at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 18th, 2022.
Smith was taken into custody, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals First State Fugitive Task Force and the City of Dover Fire Marshal’s Office, without incident and later committed to SCI on a $137,000 cash bond after being arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court #7 on the following offenses:
-Arson 1st Degree
-Reckless Endangering 1st Degree (19x)
-Criminal Mischief $5,000 or Greater
-Shoplifting Under $1,500
-Wearing a Disguise During Commission of Felony
The Dover Police Department and City of Dover Fire Marshals Office is investigating an arson that occurred inside of the Target store located at 148 John Hunn Brown Road, according to Dover Police Public Information Office Sergeant Mark Hoffman.
Hoffman said multiple agencies responded to assist in suppressing the fire and ventilating the building, including fire departments from the following regions: Dover, Little Creek, Leipsic, Camden-Wyoming, Dover Air Force Base, Hartly, Cheswold, South Bowers Beach, St. Francis EMS and Kent County Paramedics. The fire was under control and crews were able to leave the scene by 12:30am, July, 11. Citizen’s Hose Company (Smyrna) covered the City of Dover during the incident.
Evidence obtained at this point in the investigation has shown the fire was intentionally set in the linen section, near the center of the store. The store was quickly evacuated of customers and employees with no injuries reported. Preliminary damage estimates range between $3 – $4 million dollars in merchandise damage from the fire, smoke, and Estimated damages to the structure were not readily available said Hoffman.
Target spokesman Brian Harper-Tibaldo said Yesterday evening our Dover, Delaware store was evacuated due to a fire on the sales floor. We’re grateful that no one was injured. The store will be closed for the next several weeks during repairs and restocking, and guests are welcome to visit our Christiana location for all of their needs.”
Harper-Tibaldo added that the Dover store employs around 150 team members.
Delaware State Fire Marshals are investigating a fire at the Target located at 148 John Hunn Brown Road in Dover.
Just after 9:00 Sunday evening, Dover firefighters responded to the store for reports of a fire in the store. Upon arrival, Command struck a second alarm which brought crews from several surrounding companies.
Initial reports from the scene indicated that the fire started in the bedding section of the store. A video posted on social media shows the fire that fire was initially centered on one isle of that section. It’s not clear if the fire spread beyond that isle.
The store was evacuated. No injuries have been reported.
This is a developing story.