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Former West Palm Beach firefighter accused of starting fire in Walmart to cover up shoplifting

Posted at 11:15 AM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 20:28:06-05

A former West Palm Beach firefighter is accused of starting a fire at a local Walmart to cause a distraction while shoplifting. 

Kenneth Gray is charged with arson and theft after firefighters evacuated the Walmart store on Belvedere Road on Oct. 26 due to a fire.

Two men, one that was later identified as Gray, along with a woman, are accused of placing numerous Halloween items into a shopping cart.  They then ignited a display inside the store on fire, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says. 

Surveillance video allegedly shows Gray pushing a shopping cart full of merchandise outside the store without paying during the commotion. Gray and the other suspects were picked up by his wife in the parking lot, according to an arrest report.

Investigators determined the fire started with either matches or a lighter. Numerous people, including officials with West Palm Beach Fire Rescue, identified Gray from the video.

A fire department official reportedly confirmed Gray's position with the fire department was terminated in February. 

Officers arrested Gray in September, accusing him of stealing and pawning equipment from a WPBFD ambulance. Gray was out on bond from the Palm Beach County Jail at the time of the alleged arson at the Walmart. 

Gray appeared before a Palm Beach County Judge Wednesday morning. The state said Gray poses a concern for the community because many people could have been injured at the Walmart. 

A judge ordered him not to have contact with anyone at Walmart or his co-defendant, Angela Alvin. He is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on $27,000 bond. If released, Gray will be under house arrest.

“We’re handling this as best as possible and he absolutely is innocent,” said Amanda Gray, Kenneth Gray’s wife. 

Amanda Gray spoke to NewsChannel 5 after her husband’s first appearance Wednesday morning.
She maintained her husband's innocence, despite the video evidence. 

“I wasn’t actually with him, but I know. I know him and he didn’t do the fire at all. I don’t know what happened in regards to the other stuff, but it was chaotic that day,” said Amanda Gray. 

However, after that interview, we later learned police do suspect that Amanda Gray may have been involved. 

In the probable cause affidavit, detectives say a fourth suspect "matched the description of Amanda Gray."

They believe she may have picked up him from the Walmart. 

While she has not been charged in connection with the October crime, we discovered she and her husband are both facing charges related to stealing and pawning stolen goods from Gray’s former West Palm Beach fire station.

That case is also pending.

" I’m here to support him and I know that everything will be okay,” said Amanda Gray.