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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dustin Walls: Teen Ordered to Pay Walmart $1 Million; But Will Bentonville Even Notice?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM

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A 17-year-old from southwestern Illinois could be paying Walmart for the rest of his life, following a fire he set in the company's Wood River store last year.

Dustin Walls pleaded guilty Monday to starting a fire in the 24-hour Walmart in September 2010. Surveillance cameras reportedly caught Walls setting shelving units on fire in the cosmetic's section around 2:50 a.m. Several bottles of shampoo ignited and cans of hairspray blew up. The store was closed for days as a crew worked to fix damage to the building.

Walmart claims the fire cost $400,000 in repair fees and that more than $500,000 worth of merchandise was ruined when the store's sprinkler system kicked in to stop the flames. Yesterday, a Madison County judge approved an order for Walls to pay Walmart $983,614.58 in restitution.

The prosecutor said that the nearly $1 million fee shows that the state is "looking out for our merchants or crime victims of any kind."

Evidently, "of any kind" includes a corporation that reported $6 billion in profits in the quarter ending January 31. To put that into perspective, money Walls will have to repay Walmart represents less than .02 percent of what the company earned in just three months.

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