Dustin Walls: Teen Ordered to Pay Walmart $1 Million; But Will Bentonville Even Notice?

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A 17-year-old from southwestern Illinois could be paying Walmart for the rest of his life, following a fire he set in the company's Wood River store last year.

Dustin Walls pleaded guilty Monday to starting a fire in the 24-hour Walmart in September 2010. Surveillance cameras reportedly caught Walls setting shelving units on fire in the cosmetic's section around 2:50 a.m. Several bottles of shampoo ignited and cans of hairspray blew up. The store was closed for days as a crew worked to fix damage to the building.

Walmart claims the fire cost $400,000 in repair fees and that more than $500,000 worth of merchandise was ruined when the store's sprinkler system kicked in to stop the flames. Yesterday, a Madison County judge approved an order for Walls to pay Walmart $983,614.58 in restitution.

The prosecutor said that the nearly $1 million fee shows that the state is "looking out for our merchants or crime victims of any kind."

Evidently, "of any kind" includes a corporation that reported $6 billion in profits in the quarter ending January 31. To put that into perspective, money Walls will have to repay Walmart represents less than .02 percent of what the company earned in just three months.

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220 comments
BoogerFree
BoogerFree

Better punishment would be to make the kid work there.

Rob
Rob

@ Chuck : yes there needs to be some accountability & making excuses is only making it worse. What the little fucker needed was a boot broke off in his ass, but a million dollar restitution ?...really your honor ?..good luck with that. You just made another "off book4life" citizen. Its a lousey way to live, but it can be done. As to Walmart..they are evil profit mongers that we as a society created thru greed &  a compulsion for "have it now". When you see a Wall Mart coming to your town, its not long before the Payday loans" & section 8 welfare housing pop-up & that marks the end of a peaceful quiet community . Social mindset's change and with that comes the crime & drugs. I have seen it happen too many times. Times are changing. We created a monster that has no soul or conscience . Enjoy.

Jeffwehrle
Jeffwehrle

The kid is not stupid, he has no excuse for what he did. Everyone over the age of 7 knows that hairspray is flammable. And if our parents tell us its flammable, then we certainly know. Wal Mart is a multi-trillion dollar organization that keeps records of every single sale and theft that takes place each second of each day. That being said, this comes down to a judicial matter. If i open a legitimate business  that sells anything from car tires to bath towels, and some person, male, female, old, young, enters my legally procured property and causes any type of damage I am entitled to the costs to repair the damage caused in said incident. Despite moral, ethical, spiritual, or social values of those involved. This is my right as a business owner under the constitution of the United States. This kid will end up paying 25$/month to his local magistrate until he is dead, or makes  a million dollars somehow. Two things can be learned from this, Don't set fire to private property on closed circuit, or any type of surveillance  camera. And the second thing is.. Wal-Mart makes a really large amount of capital.

SJ
SJ

A REALLY terrible punishment would be to make him work for Wal Mart for the rest of his life...

Saaaaadrahim
Saaaaadrahim

Arson is arson. And this guy deserves his fines. I dont know what his intentions were, but Walmart deserves to be burned down. People say "Walmart creates so many jobs for Americans"...yeah they provide plenty of minimum wage jobs for the Americans whose businesses were closed as a direct result of the opening of the Walmart.So keep giving your money to the huge corporations while small thriving businesses are being shut down unable to compete. Isn't that the American way?

Its a shame this kid got caught.

Its a shame this kid got caught.

Bobwygant
Bobwygant

Who cares how much Walmart makes! The issue is he did what he did...amen. Pay buddy.Would the same scenario in the last paragraph hold true with the same innuendos applied if he burned your house down? You make so much compared to him so lets not be to harsh and have him replace your scorched dwelling....the poor guy.........

Brad
Brad

- Knibb High Football Rules.- This is America. You want to go around smashing store fronts and setting cosmetics departments ablaze? Cool beans. Go riot in London, get tear gassed, then get arrested.- @@db1b64c607e03d2dd0c4f9905b74f49d:disqus "do you have any language skills and a brain to make since. who knowsthe reason you say these things is because you don't have a brain andyou could be one of those people who a thief" - FYI, grammar is generally considered a language skill. Until you learn that, I would not recommend admonishing others MULTIPLE TIMES (haha) for having poor language skills when you yourself have mastered third grade remedial English at the most.

Fact Finder
Fact Finder

Fact: setting fires risks the lives of people.  Especially the firefighters who respond.  Fact: This is not a 7, 10 or 12 year old.  This is a 17 year old.  "Boys" his age went to war. 

I suspect there may be Mental Health issues, in which case, given the risk he represents, secure custody is the best place to start his therapy.  I have not dismissed the possibility that this may have been a gang related event.  Don't dismiss the gang initiation phenomena.  In any event, Mr. Walls has committed a very serious crime and is receiving the just consequence.  To Dustin's mom 'support and maintain contact'.  To Wood River ... support your correctional and justice system, and remain vigilant. 

Abudabi
Abudabi

How much did that particular walmart store earn in that time frame?

bigoka
bigoka

It doesn't matter how much money Wal-Mart makes, wrong is wrong. What is one of those can of hairspray fired like a projectile and killed someone? I say he got off easy.

Derp.
Derp.

Kid deserved that fine, albeit impossible to pay off in his life time. All corporations are money-grubbing asses, if they cared that $1,000,000 was only '0.2%' of their profit for a quarter, they wouldn't have so harshly laid that sue on him.

In short, he deserved punishment, but Wal-Mart didn't lose any sleep over this.

SHAWN
SHAWN

Don't just make him pay the money back. Make him work in that very Wal-Mart for FREE forEVER.

Lurchi
Lurchi

Meh, the kid will still get away with it, all he has to do is file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Patrickpaddock
Patrickpaddock

walmart has life insurance policies on the people that work for them so could probably care less about a burning cosmetic section.

New2you1978
New2you1978

wow really! i understand what he did was very iresponsible,dangerous,and felionus behavior,however he is 17 slap him with some jail time,some probation,and lower the restitution, so that he is not discouraged in paying back this heavy debt,and goes on to commit even bigger crimes for fear that he will never be able to financially redeem himself from this debt!! really walmart has enough money!!

Skyler Hart
Skyler Hart

Anyone who has responded to this thread and defended the kid or said that Wal-Mart "doesn't deserve" reparations needs to think twice about the matter.

Alternatively, hopefully some seventeen-year-old kid will come over and torch your home in the near future.  What exactly will your expectations be at that point? 

For those of you who seem to think that Wal-Mart is some horrible entity of an evil on par with the all-seeing eye from Lord of the Rings, I invite you to take up residence under a communist, socialist, or dictatorial regime.  If a hugely successful capitalist enterprise is somehow offensive to you, if the thought of an American businessman forming one of the world's largest multi-billion dollar private organizations from a single "five and dime" store in Arkansas is somehow twisted and evil to you, then please, by all means, move somewhere else.  If you think Wal-Mart is destroying the economy, try to defend that stance after you consider that they employ more people than any other private corporation in the world.

I don't work at Wal-Mart nor do I have any special interest in their corporation.  In fact, I typically shop at Kroger, as I think the store is nicer and the prices are a bit lower.  I do, however, believe in capitalism and the notion that a single person can build an empire from nothing.  Wal-Mart is a fantastic example of this, and people should be proud and uplifted that a fellow American accomplished the true American dream - building a global corporation from a single store and a vision.

I, too, wish that so many American jobs weren't being outsourced and that more of the products we consume were produced and purchased here in the US.  I can't, however, fault company leaders for making decisions within the confines of the law that better their corporation's chances for future profit and success. 

Lastly, we have a huge lack of personal responsibility and accountability in America today, and I applaud the legal system for taking a stand and making an example out of someone who showed a blatant disrespect for -private- property and blatant disregard for the well-being of others.  It's sheer luck that lives weren't lost.

Bigganddelicious
Bigganddelicious

I don't understand the point of the article? This is ignorant at best and biased. If someone comes in your home and burns it down, you shouldn't receive restitution because you're obviously wealthy enough to have a home and therefore shouldn't receive justice? Asinine!

Ass
Ass

LoL dumb ass punk

eyop11
eyop11

$500,000 for merchandise? Are they talking retail value or wholesale.Made in china probably means $80,000 of merchandise.

Patrick Martin
Patrick Martin

Dumb kid. He screwed up, now he'll be paying for it (literally) for the rest of his life. That's how it goes. Maybe now he'll understand the value of respecting what doesn't belong to him. There's a life lesson learned the hard way.

Davide Pintus
Davide Pintus

The richer you are, the less justice you deserve, apparently.

vI j
vI j

Wal-Mart should have to pay him!

No
No

I am hoping that the "Stupidity" tag was for the kids idiotic action and not the judges decision for forcing a moronic kid to pay for his actions.  Who cares how rich Walmart is, it is about the fact that some moron set fire to a store for no reason.Hope he serves jail time as well.  Fire is no joke and if my kids were in that store when he set the fire I would beat the shit out of him.

Armstrong Josh
Armstrong Josh

All he needed to have done is slip on the water from the sprinkler system and counter-sue for two million. Silly teenagers.

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

Who cares how much Walmart made.  The little psycho was being an arsonist and should have to pay.  Alternately, I'm sure Walmart would settle for him being set on fire and allowed to burn for 15 minutes.

PointOfVi3w
PointOfVi3w

You know what's funny? I used to be in shipping and receiving at Wal-Mart.If something is broken there, they are reimbursed the money. Something about "guaranteed sales." I'm not sure if it's insured or what, but that's an internet fact from someone you don't know.

Lateralis3k
Lateralis3k

"Evidently, "of any kind" includes a corporation that reported $6 billion in profits in the quarter ending January 31. To put that into perspective, money Walls will have to repay Walmart represents less than .02 percent of what the company earned in just three months."

This has no relevance on the matter. The fact of the matter is the damage that was done. You don't base a decision off of how much the plaintiff is making. Could you imagine the judge deciding cases like this? "Well, you are completely right and this young man did destroy your store. However, you guys make a lot of money and can afford it, so this young man isn't in the wrong and shouldn't owe you guys what he damaged."

Now as this case finishes, all the little fucking thug pricks in the world get the message, "Oh wow, I can do $1million in damage and only be liable for $10,000!!! Let's go fuck up Walmart!"

Sorry, but your article was good reporting facts until you got to the part where you starting crying that WalMart is rich. All you panzies who whine about Wal-Mart should really just give it a rest. Think about the system and how every case must be approached consistently with the others.

Alicia Pitman
Alicia Pitman

Honestly the fact that Walmart makes tons of money or use child labor or who gives a fuck, they are indeed a shitty company. HOWEVER this is whats wrong with America, if you commit a crime you pay for said crime, NO MATTER WHO IS AFFECTED. The law is the law. End of story.

Caliban Darklock
Caliban Darklock

DOIN THE MATH...

If it's okay for Dustin Walls to do $983k of damage to a company making $6 billion...

Then it is okay for anyone to do a comparable proportion of damage to any business. 

And therefore, it is okay to shoplift $9.83 worth of merchandise from a small business making $60k. 

Right? I mean, hey... it's the same percentage of revenue. 

catch .22
catch .22

Hmm lets look at this the way the damages would be looked if it were a corporation that did the damage. One: president, vice president and all executives could get fired but they wouldn't have to pay the whole of the damages and could quite possibly evade even getting blamed for the problem entirely and secure their jobs as well too. Two the entire corporation would then have to "pay up" and take the fault and you can't put a corporation in jail, and no one real person is punished oh well. Unfortunately the reality in America is that in the legal sense of the word a corporation is a person and therefore any blame on any wrong doing by said company can easily be deflected since how the fuck do you punish an idea. Well other than charging it with money. The blame of this arson should not just spread to person at fault but the community that made it what it is. Since we are entities built by our surroundings and communities. This kid probably grew up in an area where ignorance and arrogance is the norm, and in a place that only caters to anyone they deem worthy for "success". His stupidity is not his fault but those around him that failed him, which in turn created a lack reason. If it were the community in which he grew up in was to be blamed the cost would trickle down to the collective failure of said community. I feel it is unjust to blame just the person that failed himself. Some of the credit of his epic failure needs to be put on the leaders of men, which I can trace from his, parents, to his teachers, to the president. If America persists on its path and continues to make its weakest links weaker and weaker, the North American economy will collapse. More pride needs to be put back where it needs to be, mainly in the education system(mostly in teaching basic moral guidelines, and the process of thought, I would suggest focusing on Plato, and other greek philosophers as base), into the youth, and into its hardworking poor. America also needs to rely on becoming its own main source of goods instead of relying so heavily on imported goods, but thats another story all together. We often enjoy putting the blame in one person when in reality it should be seen as just another dip stick showing America it is on the decline. Think about how the system failed this poor lad, and remember sometimes were born into things we never wanted, and that we are a consequence of our collected experiences.  Think long and hard America since our ship in consequence will sink with you being the anchor.

Matthew
Matthew

This is really sad, this kids in debt for the rest of his life, but if you're going to start a fire in a department store you can't really expect a good outcome. Thats all i have to say about that...As for the commentors of this postI was laughing pretty hard at the "Stand-up guy post." Stand-up guy? What the hell good is that ganna do? I'v seen good men beaten down to a pulp in this world. And at the oppsite and of the spectrum iv seen horrible, naccisitic people, who have never done anything in thier life but cheat, lie and steal and have lived great lives,full of success, happeniss and joy, who have died like that and probably never suffered for it.One more thing...If im ever on trial, i hope none of you are on jury duty, cause you guys are...how do i say this.. quick to point the finger? Ya, no you guys know whats best.

puff86
puff86

yeh he should pay for his crime, but walmart is a bunch of gold diggin faggots

Chris
Chris

Hilarious, they sued a Kid, come on who sues a kid when all your going to get in restitution is a moose head.

Should have gotten custodial sentance, sent to the big house.

Personal Trainer
Personal Trainer

Fair enought. What was this guy wanting to prove? Now more than ever he will need counseling or psicho treatment...

Oronjoffe+blogs
Oronjoffe+blogs

The real news is that "Several bottles of shampoo ignited". What on earth is Wallmart selling?!!

Gabe
Gabe

The word is "pled," not "pleaded." He is not on his knees pleading to the judge. He is entering his plea. The past tense of plea is pled, not pleaded.

Bryan
Bryan

This thread is really disturbing. How can you people be so certain on something you know very little about. In a very vague 203 word article your ready to judge the rest of this guys life!?

I choose to reserve judgement until I have all the facts.

Was this malicious?

Was Lisawonline correct about it being an accident with hand sanitizer? I've burn hand sanitizer in my hand and on desks when I heard about it. Nobody was hurt and it didn't damage anything. But it's possible that it was an accident. The point is I don't know and neither do most, if not all, of you.

If this was an accident then I don't believe it's right to make this kid an indentured servent for the rest of his life. If you dissagree then I ask you to answer this question for me "What was the cost of damage for exactly?" Because one person on here said that walmart threw out all the clothes that got wet. Even though they couldv'e salvaged them and sold them if not in the store as new then to secondhand stores, ebay, or given them to goodwill for taxbreaks for the company.

I'm not gonna call him an idiot or anything like that because I don't know his intentions.

And why did the entire stores sprinker system go off when one  section only needed it? I would think walmart would have a more sophisticated system.

That sprinkler system really fucked this kid over. He would easily be able to pay back the damage of the fire within his lifetime. I'm just saying.

cvxxx
cvxxx

@Saaaaadrahim Small thriving business can compete by offering what WalMart does not.  Or by banding together for purchasing power. 

Cjbbiv
Cjbbiv

 Not if your insured that's what you pay for insurance for.  Do you think you should get paid twice?? LMAO

kitten ku'upio
kitten ku'upio

Knowing that the stores have insurance, I think that the amount owed is too high. While being an arsonist is horrible, I am wondering if there are other punishments that might be more valuable for this kid. Nothing was written about his mental condition, so who knows if he is slightly off or not. We don't know.  And I really REALLY dislike how everyone is so ready to hate this young man for this incident. I think what happened was crazy, and I think that what he did was nuts, but still, there might be mitigating circumstances involved. We don't know all the details about this person.

Nica_m6
Nica_m6

That is one of the most idiotic things I have seen posted. Put it in a personal perspective. You get rear ended in a car accident by a drunk driver. You are injured and have medical bills of  $50,000 and according to your logic you should pay the guy who rear ended you doing an illegal act meanwhile paying for all your medical bills out of pocket. 

 Boy
Boy

thats not cool dude my friend was just burn nearly to death he's only 12 maybe u should burn for 15 minutes u stupid son of a fat bitch

kitten ku'upio
kitten ku'upio

I think the problem remains that the dollar amount of the restitution might be far out of line with the actual damages. 

Nica_m6
Nica_m6

 It sounds like you are taking a socialists view to an extreme rate and absolving people from personal responsibility. By absolving personal responsibility you will create a society of anarchy. Meaning If I go steal a million dollars and it is the collective that has to pay for it. Why wouldn't I?  Passing the buck can only go so far. Lastly as far as your company reference I would point you to Enron. 5 convictions of personal wrongdoing in a corporate setting. 

Liteshow
Liteshow

Wow, thanks for the philosophy lesson. So, you're saying that when anyone acts inappropriately, it is not their fault alone?  It is the president's? (which one?  Obama? Kennedy?  Lincoln? the Bushes?).  That's what people don't get: for people to really learn how to behave civilly, they need to learn that they are responsible for their actions, if they are adults or close to it.  Personal Responsibility!!!  That's the philosophical lesson here that you are undermining in your argument.

kitten ku'upio
kitten ku'upio

How can burning it be an accident? Its not like it lights up accidentally!

Lisawonline
Lisawonline

Your the first person to make sence on here and you have it right it was  a stupid accident. My son goes in front of the judge after 9 mos behind bars for his sentencing next week and he may go to prison this is crazy.

Life Uninterrupted
Life Uninterrupted

It's nice to see at least one reasonable person here! I don't think people take into account how many kids out there do stupid stuff, just like this, every day! I just had a 19 year old friend take his life in a moment of drunken thoughtlessness! My point is, all it takes is one brief moment for life to change forever! It doesn't matter how you raise your kids; free will and the example society sets all play a part in the end result of virtually any circumstance!

Bryan
Bryan

Let me clarify. Accident as in unintentional consequences (sprinklers going off)

I really doubt that this kid intended to start a fire that would be big enough to cause the sprinklers to go off. Have you seen how high the sprinklers are at Walmart. My best guess is that he started a small fire that got out of his control or continued when he thought it was out.

kitten ku'upio
kitten ku'upio

Lisa, what happened? I hope he is ok. If it is an accident, then so be it, although I still think that anyone should have the sense to NOT light stuff up in the store, particularly anywhere near anything that can burn...

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