ACCOMAC, VA (AP) — A former volunteer firefighter and his girlfriend are responsible for all but a handful of the 77 arsons set on Virginia's Eastern Shore over the past five months, state police said Tuesday.
Charles R. Smith III, who went by the alias Charles Applegate when he served as captain of the Tasley Volunteer Fire Department several years ago, and his girlfriend, Tonya S. Bundick, were arrested early Tuesday, shortly after an abandoned residence was set ablaze.
The pair has been charged in only one fire, but Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said they are believed to be responsible for most of the blazes set since November. She said more charges should be filed soon.
"We now have a very complex prosecution ahead of us due to the sheer numbers of arsons these two people are responsible for setting," Geller said.
All of the fires were set in or near abandoned or unoccupied commercial and residential buildings, and no injuries were reported.
State police have previously said some of the fires appeared to be the work of a copycat or copycats, but have not said how they know that.
Bundick, 40, and Smith, 38, were each charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson for Monday night's blaze.