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Police Release Photos Of Suspects, Getaway Car After Fires Were Set At Highland, Indiana Meijer As Distraction For Shoplifting

HIGHLAND, Ind. (CBS) -- Police in Highland, Indiana on Wednesday released photos of a man and woman being sought after three small fires were set as a distraction for shoplifting at a Meijer store.

At 9:10 p.m. Monday, police found three small fires had been set in the store as a distraction so several shoplifters could steal items.

CBS 2's Charlie De Mar spoke Tuesday night with a group of friends who rushed in to stomp one of the fires out.

Shoppers roaming the aisles of the Meijer in Highland, Indiana were forced to evacuate Monday night - for those not one, but three fires that appeared to have been intentionally set throughout the grocery store.

Kaelyn Flavin and her two friends, Charlotte Bates and Michael Medina, were in the store for makeup when they heard someone yell, "Fire!"

"There were cotton pads on fire, and everyone's trying to blow on it to get it out. and we all grabbed them, threw them on the ground, and started stomping on it until it went out," Flavin said.

"It was in the cotton ball aisle, so it would have been pretty easy to catch on fire and spread," added Bates.

As store employees and customers rushed to the toy aisle with the Nerf toys and other parts of the store to put out the fires, Highland police said the flames were used as a deliberate distraction for a few people to steal and walk out of the store with merchandise.

On Wednesday, police released surveillance photos of two suspects – a man and a woman – who were believed to be involved in the fires and thefts, along with a photo of a getaway car that is believed to be a silver Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicle.

Meijer Fire, Theft Male Suspect
Male suspect in Highland, Indiana Meijer fire, shoplifting. (Credit: Highland police)
Meijer Fire, Theft Female Suspect
Female suspect in Highland, Indiana Meijer fire, shoplifting. (Credit: Highland police)
Meijer Fire, Theft Getaway Car
Getaway car in Highland, Indiana Meijer fire, shoplifting. (Credit: Highland police)

The Indiana State Fire Marshal's office is also offering a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone who can provide information leading to the conviction of the suspect or suspects who set the fires.

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Anyone with information that can help identify the suspects should call Highland police Detective Darren Conley at (219) 838-3184.

On Friday, there was almost an identical incident at the Walmart in south suburban Lansing, about six miles from Highland.

Two fires were set inside the store, causing major damage. Arson is believed to be the cause.

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