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- Weather Alert 1 - Areal Flood Watch issued December 21 at 9:55PM EST expiring December 22 at…
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AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - A 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged with sparking the arson fire at the Target on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst that caused at least one million dollars in damage.
William Lattin, of no permanent address, has been charged with second degree arson by Amherst Police. Authorities say Lattin is responsible for the Thursday afternoon fire at Target that sent employees and customers rushing out of the store.
The blaze started in the men's department, when a pile of pants caught fire, and the store quickly filled with thick smoke. It took the company until noon Friday to re-open the store, cleaning up the damage from the sprinkler and smoke and re-stocking the shelves.
Det. Lt. Richard Walter tells News 4 that two customers interviewed the day after the fire were instrumental in helping solve the crime.
"Both of them described an individual who was seen acting suspiciously near the origin of the fire. Based on that information we had from witnesses, we began reviewing security footage and people from Target and a short time after the fire, this individual was seen leaving the store," he explained.
Det. Lt. Walter says incredibly, after the man was identified in the surveillance video, security personnel at Target spotted him in the store again on Friday and detectives swooped in to arrest him. He says Lattin, who has an extensive criminal history, admitted starting the fire.
The blaze caused at least a million dollars in damage and possibly as much as five million in damage. But the store manager says the most important thing is, no one was hurt.
Lattin is being held on $50,000 bail. He's been ordered to undergo a forensic evaluation.
FLOOD WATCH remains in effect for all of Western New York until Sunday evening.
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