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Bartlett woman charged with Walmart arson

fire2-wMEMPHIS — A Bartlett woman accused of setting fire to a rack of clothes in a store last Thursday has been charged with aggravated arson and released after posting a $50,000 bond.

The fire happened around 7 a.m. Aug. 24 in the Walmart store at 3950 Austin Peay, in the Raleigh area.

If found guilty, she could face 15-60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

The suspect, 27-year-old Joy Cagle, said she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and she sparks lighters and uses fidget spinners to stay busy. As officers were arriving, they heard her say she didn’t mean to set the clothes on fire.

Cagle then changed her story and said an unknown white male in the area set the fire. He was described as wearing a red and blue hat, red shirt and shorts.

Walmart employees, however, said they caught her in the act: Jean Skelton investigated a cloud of smoke and said she found Cagle setting clothes on fire. Marilyn Higginbottom said she spotted Cagle lighting a smock, which ignited a bigger fire. The two employees called for help and evacuated the store. Witnesses and other employees detained Cagle.

Fire investigators were the first responders on the scene around 7:15 a.m., and they took Cagle into custody. They reported finding several illegal drugs in her possession and a short pale blue cigarette lighter sticking out of her cigarette pack. The drugs were tested at the Shelby County Jail and taken into evidence, but the affidavit didn’t disclose what kind or amount of drugs the suspect had.

Cagle was arraigned on Aug. 25, and her second arraignment was on Aug. 28. A judge continued her case until 9 a.m. Sept. 11 for a mental evaluation.

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