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Portland man accused of setting fires at Gallatin Walmart

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A Portland man is facing multiple arson-related charges after police say he set two fires at the Walmart in Gallatin.

Officers responded to the store, located at 1112 Nashville Pike, on July 21 in reference to an individual, later identified as 22-year-old Jeremiah Jordan Scott Stephens, setting items on fire inside the store, according to police.

"(A Walmart employee) went further to say he observed a white male, wearing khaki pants and a grey t-shirt lighting pieces of paper, with two skirts, on fire," according to an arrest affidavit. "The paper and skirts were being held in the defendant's left hand and the lighter in the right."

After he was confronted by the employee, police say Stephens fled the scene and set fire to some wooden pallets behind the store. A K9 tracked him to the wood line behind Village Green Apartments where he was located and taken into custody.

When interviewed by police, Stephens confessed to setting both fires at the store, according to an affidavit. He also admitted to placing pine needles around the passenger side diesel gas tank of a semi-truck in the parking lot and attempting to light them on fire.

"Due to the pine needles not lighting (and) a white male... confronting the defendant as to his actions, the defendant fled the area on foot," according to an affidavit. "It should be noted that when the defendant attempted to start the fire involving the semi-truck, (the male) was located inside sleeping."

Stephens is charged with shoplifting, arson, aggravated arson, attempted aggravated arson and resisting arrest. He was booked into the Sumner County Jail with a $150,000 bond. A criminal hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16 in Sumner County General Sessions Court.

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