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Florida Man Charged With Igniting Marine Flares In Mall

Polk County Sheriff's Office
Patrick Joseph Collins

A Florida man suspected of igniting several marine flares in a mall corridor has been arrested.

The Lakeland Ledger reports 31-year-old Patrick Joseph Collins was arrested Friday and charged with attempted arson, manufacturing/possessing a hoax bomb and resisting an officer without violence.

Investigators tracked Collins through forensic evidence found on several items left inside a corridor at Eagle Ridge Mall. The detonation of the flares, originally thought to be pipe bombs, caused minimal damage to ceiling tiles.

According to authorities, Collins told investigators that he was trying to sleep in the mall corridor, but when people attempted to chase him off he ignited the flares. Investigators disproved his account from witness statements and video surveillance.

He is being held at the Polk County Jail. An attorney is not listed in public records.

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