Suspects set fire to store in Magnolia

The first man to enter the store was a white male with a beard, tan pants, black long sleeve shirt and a green baseball hat. The second man to enter the store was a Hispanic male wearing tan pants, a black long sleeve shirt with a green t-shirt over the black shirt and a tan/black baseball hat. Both were dressed in similar clothing, although the Hispanic male had an additional green t-shirt over his black long sleeve shirt.

July 7, 2011 9:03:05 AM PDT
Authorities are searching for a couple of men suspected of setting a fire at a store while customers were inside. On Sunday, just before closing time, two men entered the Ross Dress for Less Store located on FM 1488 near FM 2978 in Magnolia and asked to speak with the store manager. According to the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office, while waiting for the manager, one of the men walked to the back of the store and set fire to clothing and wicker furnishings on a display rack.

Employees immediately noticed the fire and smoke, and began to evacuate the customers still in the store. As it was near closing time, only a handful of customers were in the store at the time the fire was set. A quick-thinking employee grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher and was able to control the fire until the Magnolia Fire Department arrived.

Arson investigators from the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office say they have learned two men entered the store approximately three minutes apart and asked to speak with the store manager. The first man to enter the store was a white male with a beard, tan pants, black long sleeve shirt and a green baseball hat. The second man to enter the store was a Hispanic male wearing tan pants, a black long sleeve shirt with a green t-shirt over the black shirt and a tan/black baseball hat. Both were dressed in similar clothing, although the Hispanic male had an additional green t-shirt over his black long sleeve shirt.

Witnesses reported to investigators that they heard a loud noise like an explosion and saw smoke coming from the furnishings section of the store. During the confusion and evacuation of the store, both men fled the building in an unknown direction.

Investigators are seeking information in regards to the identity of the two men in the attached images. Anyone with information can call the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office at 936-538-8288 or email the office at mcfmo@mctx.org. Persons with information who wish to remain anonymous may also contact Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at 800-392-(STOP) 7867 or visit the Crime Stoppers website at www.montgomerycountycrimestoppers.org.


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