Investigators in Prince George’s County, Maryland, are trying to find suspects and a potential link in two fires at separate 7-Eleven convenience stores that were started with Molotov cocktails.
The county fire department said Saturday night that a fire broke out at a 7-Eleven on Dallas Drive in Temple Hills after reports of three men throwing the homemade incendiary devices at the building.
Jennifer Donelan with the Prince George’s County Fire Department said the three suspects threw the Molotov cocktails inside the store and at propane tanks sitting outside before leaving the scene in a silver sedan.
Two employees who were inside the store at the time were able to get out without being injured.
Crews arrived to find smoke and fire inside the building. They managed to put the fire out without incident. Property damage is estimated to be around $50,000.
The fire department said the case is similar to a fire that took place at a 7-Eleven on Auth Road in Camp Springs on Jan. 6. In that incident, a single suspect was seen throwing Molotov cocktails at the outside of the building.
Donelan said the suspect threw two of the homemade fire bombs at the doors outside the store.
“These two cases are similar,” Donelan said. “We don’t have any concrete evidence that is linking them, so that we could say definitively that they are related, but they certainly are similar and we are investigating both of them.”
Donelan said the use of Molotov cocktails to set these fires is a red flag for the department.
“It’s certainly not something that we see often,” she said. “They were intentionally set, so it’s of major concern to both the fire department and the police department. It’s a matter of public safety.”
Investigators said they do not believe the Jan. 6 incident was related to the riots that took place at the U.S. Capitol Building the same day.
Anyone with information regarding either of these cases are asked to call the Prince George’s County Fire Investigations Division at 301-77ARSON (301-772-7766).
WTOP’s Luke Garrett contributed to this report.