Affidavit alleges woman charged with arson started apartment fire over hair products, phone case

Shaniqua Yates, 25
Shaniqua Yates, 25(Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New details have emerged on what motivated the Arbor Creek Trail arson suspect to set the apartment fire on Sept. 14.

Shaniqua Yates, 25, was arrested and charged on Sunday by the Memphis U.S. Marshal Two Rivers Violent Fugitive Task Force and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The affidavit reports that two fires occurred at the complex that day, but does not offer details about the time or location of the second fire.

According to the affidavit, a resident of the apartment complex had a prior disagreement with Yates about selling hair products, an issue about a phone case, and money issues.

On both the morning and evening of both fires, surveillance photos show a blue Nissan Maxima with a driver inside matching Yates’ description idling in the complex parking lot outside the apartment of the woman she was known to be arguing with.

Police say Yates has a blue Nissan Maxima registered in her name.

Multiple residents of the complex told police they witnessed the car outside.

A call was made to police reporting a woman matching Yates’ description trying to gain access to the victim’s apartment.

An additional witness told police that they saw Yates exit the car, enter the victim’s apartment and walk around with some form of light minutes before the fire started.

The Memphis Fire Department says the fire started at 8:52 p.m. in the victim’s front bedroom and was under control by 9:21 p.m.

Police say no one was injured, but over 20 residents were displaced according to the U.S. Marshals Service. The fire department estimated approximately $300,000 worth of damages.

Yates was charged with aggravated arson and has a bond set at $150,000.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 23.

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