A man wanted for arson in connection with a fire that significantly damaged the Walmart store in Clovis, New Mexico last week was spotted in Lubbock over the weekend, police told local media Tuesday.
Jimmy Guillen, 59, is wanted for arson, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence and felon in possession of a destructive device in connection with the Sept. 3 Walmart fire that closed the store indefinitely and caused an estimated $42 million in damages.
Clovis police told The Eastern New Mexico News that Guillen was treated for burns Saturday at a Lubbock hospital, though he remained at large Tuesday. Guillen is believed to be transient and police are asking for the public’s help to find him.
“We have people in Lubbock trying to locate him,” Clovis Police Capt. Robert Telles told The News.
Court records show police found Guillen with flare, lighter and butane canister near a small grass fire outside Walmart on Sept. 2, just a few hours before the blaze sparked inside the store. He was also seen on video attempting to light plants on fire at the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement store just minutes before the Walmart fire, The News reported.
Police said additional charges may be filed pending the outcome of the investigation.
Clovis fire, police and EMS responded to the blaze at Walmart, 3728 N. Prince St., at about 3:36 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 3. “Due to the size of the building and the aggressive nature of the fire, additional fire units from surrounding agencies were requested to assist the Clovis Fire Department,” a release read at the time, and firefighters from Cannon Air Force Base, Melrose, Ranchvale, Pleasant Hill, Texico, Portales and Grady in New Mexico and Farwell and Bovina in Texas assisted with the incident.
The store was closed when the blaze began. All employees were able to evacuate, and no injuries were reported.
Clovis police said that immediately after the fire was extinguished, a joint investigation began, including members from the 9th Judicial District Major Crimes Unit, the Clovis Police Department, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Clovis Fire Department.
“This has been a time-consuming process and we appreciate the public’s patience as we work through this investigation,” a Saturday update notes. “Currently, we are not prepared to release any conclusions or evidence from this investigation. Any further information or items will not be available until they can be reviewed and this investigation is determined to be completed by all agencies involved.”
Clovis Walmart management said in a social media post that while the store is closed, they will “continue serving customers at our store on 1604 E Spruce Street in Portales, NM and on Walmart.com.”
Clovis police noted that while Walmart property is secured as a crime scene, “Only authorized persons, investigators and workers associated with the cleaning and restoration of the Walmart, are allowed within the property. Unauthorized entry to this property may result in an immediate arrest for criminal trespass.”
The Clovis Police Department is asking for the public’s help with information related to this fire. Anyone who may have information related to this incident is asked to contact the Clovis Police Department at 575-769-1921 oprovide information anonymously by using the tip411 program, accessed by going to www.police.cityofclovis.org. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Curry County Crime Stoppers at 575-763-7000.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Clovis Walmart arson suspect spotted in Lubbock, still at large
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