Walmart, Calif. Mall Arson Fires Blamed on Same Man by Federal Grand Jury

Alexander Piggee (KOVR)
Calif. Man Indicted on Arson Charges for Setting Fires to Walmart, Shopping Mall
Alexander Piggee (KOVR)

(CBS/KOVR/AP) A 23-year-old man was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on two counts of arson for setting fires to a Walmart and a Roseville, Calif. mall that caused nearly $55 million in damage.

The indictment alleges that Alexander Piggee started the first fire at a Walmart in Sacramento on October 21, 2010, reports CBS affiliate KOVR. That fire caused only minor damage to the gardening department.

Piggee then allegedly went to Westfield Roseville Galleria, about 18 miles northeast of Sacramento, and went into the video store Game Stop, ordered a store employee to leave, and started a fire at the retailer.

The fire spread to the duct work and ultimately caused extensive damage to a quarter of the 1.3 million-square-foot retail center, reportedly costing an estimated $55 million.

No one was killed in either blaze, but two firefighters suffered injuries while taming the Galleria fire, according to CNN.

"After consulting with law enforcement partners in Placer and Sacramento counties, it was determined that a federal prosecution in which both arsons could be charged and prosecuted in a single proceeding was appropriate in this case," U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner told KOVR.

The maximum penalty for each charge is 20 years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years.

Piggee is being held in the Placer County Jail.