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Authorities identify suspect accused of starting fire that destroyed Champs Sports in Tampa

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Posted at 7:39 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 12:44:40-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Authorities say a 20-year-old man who was wanted in connection with starting the fire that destroyed a Champs Sports store in Tampa during a night of looting and civil unrest has been arrested.

According to the United States Attorney's Office, Terrace Lee Hester Jr. surrendered to authorities in New York on Friday. Hester is accused of throwing a flaming cloth into the Champs store at 2381 Fowler Avenue in late May.

According to a complaint released by the United States Attorney's Office, the fire caused an estimated $1.25 million in damage to the shopping plaza building.

The complaint says investigators obtained a description of the suspect, a black male with longer dreadlock-style hair and a slim build, from surveillance video. Subsequent investigation identified the suspect as Hester, according to the complaint.

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Fire investigators determined that the first started inside the Champs store and that Hester's act caused or contributed to it, according to a press release.

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