SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield man was arrested on August 3 for setting a fire inside Academy Sports in an attempt to create a diversion and steal merchandise.

According to a probable cause statement from the Springfield Fire Department, Robert Ruffner was arrested and is facing charges of knowingly burning after setting fire to a clothing rack.

Officers were able to track Ruffner through the store and out the entrance/exit and footage showed Ruffner entering The Library Center. A manager at the library called the police and stated Ruffner was sitting at a computer.

Ruffner told police he was inside Academy and decided to “smoke a cigarette.” Police found no evidence of a cigarette at the scene of the fire.

Ruffner later admitted that he set the clothes on fire in order to shoplift some merchandise and this would be a diversion. He also admitted to police he just got off parole for first-degree robbery and spent nine years at the Department of Corrections.

Ruffner is scheduled for a court date on August 14.