A Federal Way Police Department vehicle. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

A Federal Way Police Department vehicle. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Kent man charged with arson after setting fire to towels in Federal Way Walmart

Fire caused evacuation of over 150 customers, employees on Aug. 15.

A Kent man was recently charged with arson after allegedly setting fire to towels inside a Federal Way Walmart on Aug. 15.

Simon Karl Hoyt, 30 of Kent, is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. His arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 2 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Hoyt has had 10 warrants since 2018, and has been previously convicted for driving under the influence, displaying a deadly weapon and theft.

According to the charging documents, Hoyt entered the Walmart Supercenter store (1900 S. 314th Street in Federal Way) around 5:20 p.m. on Aug. 15.

He allegedly set fire to towels in on of the store’s aisle, causing over 150 customers and employees to evacuate.

While employees were able to extinguish the flames, there was an estimated $27,000 of property damage and another $30,000 in loss of sales, according to the store’s asset protection associate.

Hoyt escaped the scene, but was seen on video standing near the towels prior to the start of the fire and seen leaving the store after the fire started, documents stated.

The following day, Hoyt was scene entering the store again and he was apprehended by police.

In talking with police, Hoyt said he started the fire because he was offered $70 by a friend to cause a distraction after the friend’s girlfriend was caught shoplifting.

Hoyt was in possession of five different types of lighters and lighter fluid when he was arrested. Hoyt allegedly told police he started the fire because he needed the money, documents state.

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