United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio

05/16/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/16/2019 12:07

Marion man indicted for lighting a fire in the Kenton Walnart which caused $3.5 million in damage

A Marion man was indicted in federal court for lighting a fire in the Walnart in Kenton, which caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage.

Caleb T. Poole, 27, was indicted on one count of destroying or damaging property used in interstate commerce.

According to court documents:

An explosion and fire were reported on April 6 at the Walmart on East Columbus Street in Kenton. Police and fire responded and, after controlling the fire, determined the fire originated within a shopping cart that contained two thermoses, toilet paper, a lighter and remnants of an aerosol spray can.

A review of Walmart security videos show a man determined to be Poole using a credit card to buy two thermoses. He exited the store and walked to the gas station across the street, where he filled the thermoses with gasoline. Poole then reentered the store and was observed picking up toilet paper and hairspray, then walking with the items to the origin area of the fire. Video surveillance shows the fire starting in the area with flames rising as high as 20 feet, according to court documents.

Poole is in custody. The investigation is ongoing.

If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agency in this case is the Hardin County Sheriff's Office, the Kenton Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Weldon and Matthew D. Simko are handling the case.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The burden of proof is always on the government to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.