Police offer reward to find suspects who set off fireworks inside grocery store

ATLANTA — Police are offering a reward of $10,000 for the arrest and conviction of two teens accused of setting off a fireworks display at a southwest Atlanta grocery store.

The Publix on Camp Creek Parkway was evacuated. The sprinkler system inside put out the flames, but the fire left a huge mess. Authorities said one minor injury was reported.

Fire investigators say two teens caught on surveillance took a lighter to the display. They say the boys actually helped a woman get a watermelon into her grocery cart before igniting the display, sparking a large fire and mayhem.

"It sounded like gunshots. Of course, everyone is freaking out. Everyone was so scared and frantic. They ran through the back room and knocked my whole buggy of beer down,” said Josh Butler, a beer vendor who was inside the store when it happened.

Investigators say it took the teens two attempts with the lighter before the display ignited.

"It lasted for, like, 30 minutes so I knew it wasn't a gunshot," Butler said.


Publix told Channel 2's Liz Artz that team members from several Publix stores in the area worked all night long to clean up so the store could open on time this morning.

"It looks very good. It looks normal. It's always clean so it looked very much like I expected it to look," one customer said.

She said the smell of smoke was faint inside the store.

Police say the two teens who ignited the fireworks face arson charges.

"That's so sad for them. They've got so much to look forward to in life and then go and ruin it at this stage of their life," the customer said.

Publix says it has no intentions of removing the fireworks displays from any of its stores.