FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A fire that, officials said, was set by shoplifters at a Target store in Fort Lauderdale as a diversion has been put out, as police search for those responsible.
Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Rescue units responded to the scene of the blaze at the large retailer, located at the Coral Ridge Mall at 3200 N. Federal Highway, off Oakland Park Boulevard, at around 9:15 p.m., Wednesday.
FLFR officials said the subjects set some clothes on fire in an attempt to distract employees while the thieves began stealing.
Investigators said multiple shoplifters fled the store with items.
Store surveillance footage shows the shoplifters stuffing merchandise in bags, in a shopping cart, while one of them can be seen pacing back and fourth, working as a lookout.
It all played out as other nearby shoppers appeared to be clueless to what was even happening.
One of the women involved made a run for it, with bags full of stolen items while the two men casually walked out behind her.
An employee told 7News the store had to be evacuated as smoke and flames filled the section where the fire was ignited.
The sprinkler system was set off, and an employee used an extinguisher to help put out the flames.
The employee who spoke with 7News said the fire burned for at least a half hour before it was extinguished.
Dozens of employees were seen outside in the parking lot, while firefighters worked to clear out the smoke.
Detectives hope images of the shoplifters can help them find the four people who, they said, are involved.
No injuries were reported.
Police continue to investigate.
If you have any information on the thieves whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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