Suspect in custody after setting fire inside Hulen Mall

- Fort Worth police say they’ve arrested the man who lit three Molotov cocktails at the Hulen Mall over the past week.

Investigators say the man captured on surveillance is 46-year old Craig Michael Tezeno. He was armed with a handgun when officers took him into custody after he returned to the mall on Friday with another firebomb.

Calls came in around 10:30 a.m. Friday about the small fire in the women’s shoe section of Sears. Video from SKY 4 showed dozens of squad cars and officers in tactical gear outside the south side entrance of Sears. The mall was evacuated and the parking lot was closed to incoming traffic.

One customer described what happened as word of the fire spread.

“One of the employees said don’t go upstairs. She was actually on the escalator and the lady told her to not go upstairs. She pulled her off and said we want to keep you safe,” Stacie Jeffries said.

Last week, Molotov cocktails were used to set two fires in Sears and the other in Dillard’s. Tezeno is suspected in all three arson fire exactly one week apart.

"We have a man that committed several acts of arson. These acts of arson are being investigated,” said Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.

Last week, arson investigators released photos taken from mall surveillance video. Police say mall employees spotted their suspect based on the photos.

Fort Worth arson investigators believe a Molotov cocktail was also used in the fire Friday morning. But in each incident, the device was not thrown but rather set on the floor and lit.

"I'm not saying he threw a device. Not saying anything happened like that,” Fitzgerald said. “He was taken into custody inside the mall on the second level and without incident.”

The FBI is also investigating. They've filed a federal complaint that alleges he used a device to set a fire in a building. But that's not all.

"We look at any type of incident such as this and want to rule out if this rises to the level of terrorism,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson. “We have not determined that yet. We are in the middle of an active investigation."

Police and federal agents were seen searching the apartments where the suspect lives. Fort Worth police say Tezeno has seven outstanding warrants for various offenses. Public records show they include assault, DWI and driving without a license.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - includes advertiser stories