BRFD: Man arrested in WalMart arsons

A 31-year-old man accused of setting fires Saturday at Wal-Mart stores on College Drive and O’Neal Lane has surrendered to authorities, firefighters said Tuesday.

Paul Triplett, 3476 N. Sherwood Forest, Apt. B-3, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday afternoon on two counts of aggravated arson, two counts of terrorizing and one count of felony theft, Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte said in a news release.

Quinteria Sanders, 21, same address, is still being investigated in connection with the fires, Monte said in a telephone interview.

Triplett and Sanders also have been arrested and accused of stealing a computer from the Wal-Mart at 3132 College Drive on Jan. 12, where they allegedly set one of the fires, which occurred Saturday, according to affidavits of probable cause.

Triplett admitted to the theft and said the computer was pawned at American Pawn on Government Street under Sanders’ name, the affidavits say.

Sanders told authorities she would not answer any questions without her attorney present, the affidavits say.

Triplett and Sanders were seen with two children during the theft, the affidavits say.

Triplett was booked on counts of theft of goods, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and expired motor vehicle inspection. Sanders was booked on counts of theft of goods, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, no child restraint and no driver’s license on person.

An employee at the College Drive Wal-Mart discovered the first fire at 8:50 a.m. Saturday, firefighters have said. An employee put out the fire and others ushered customers from the store.

An employee also noticed and extinguished the fire at the Wal-Mart, 2171 O’Neal Lane, at 9:05 a.m. Saturday, firefighters have said.

Officials believe each store sustained about $11,000 in damage and loss of business, firefighters have said. No injuries were reported in either fire.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact fire investigators at (225) 354-1419 or (225) 389-2053, or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.