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Suspect Arrested in Target Arson Case

Incident Number: 50-22-21239

Date and Time: Sunday, July 10th, 2022 at 9:05 p.m.

Location: Target, 148 John Hunn Brown Road, Dover, DE

Contact: Dover Police Public Information Office
Sergeant Mark Hoffman Email: mark.hoffman@cj.state.de.us

City of Dover Fire Marshals Office (Phil Lewis)

City of Dover Emergency Management (Kay Sass)


The Dover Police Department has arrested a suspect in the July 10th arson that occurred at a Target department store as a result of a joint investigation with the City of Dover Fire Marshal’s Office. Through the collection and examination of in-store surveillance footage and physical evidence from the store, Desmond Smith (26), was identified as the sole suspect in the arson. It is believed that Smith set the fire as a diversion to steal a cart full of merchandise from the business. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Smith and executed a search warrant at his residence in the 900 Block of Whatcoat Drive at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 18th, 2022. Smith was taken into custody, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals First State Fugitive Task Force and the City of Dover Fire Marshal’s Office, without incident and later committed to SCI on a $137,000 cash bond after being arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court #7 on the following offenses:

-Arson 1st Degree
-Reckless Endangering 1st Degree (19x)
-Criminal Mischief $5,000 or Greater
-Shoplifting Under $1,500
-Wearing a Disguise During Commission of Felony

This successful investigation was the result of a collaborative effort between the Dover Police Department and City of Dover Fire Marshal’s Office.

Desmond Smith
Dover, DE

If you wish to provide information on this case or other criminal activity, please contact the Dover Police Department at (302)736-7130.  Callers may remain anonymous.  Tips may also be submitted to law enforcement through Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333 or online at delaware.crimestoppersweb.com; a cash reward is possible for information leading to an arrest.

If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Dover Police Victim Services Unit is available to provide help and guidance.  You can contact the Victim Services Unit at 302-736-7134 or by email at: Diane.Glenn@cj.state.de.us

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