Showing posts with label Virginia State Police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia State Police. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arson Case For Couple Now Headed To the Grand Jury

Charles Smith III
ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - The couple accused of terrorizing the Eastern Shore by setting fires repeatedly for months appeared in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Police said Tonya Bundick and Charles Smith III are responsible for the majority of the 77 arsons set in Accomack County between November 2012 and April 2013.

For more than three hours, a General District judge heard the Commonwealth's evidence against Bundick and Smith. The judge then certified arson and conspiracy charges against the couple. Their case is now headed to a grand jury.
Tonya Bundick

During the preliminary hearing, seven investigators and an arson victim testified in court. State troopers and special investigators gave revealing testimonies about the state of mind and behavior of Bundick and Smith on the night of their arrest.

The last home set ablaze on the Eastern Shore was on Airport Road in Melfa. The owner of the property, Claud Henry, testified that he put more than $22,000 worth of improvements into the home before it was burned the night of April 1.

Virginia State Troopers were doing surveillance in a camouflage tent in the woods near Henry's property that night . Trooper Troy Johnson testified he was using night vision when he saw a man get out a mini-van and run towards the back door of Henry's property.

Trooper Johnson said the man jammed something into the door, and ignited it. When the house caught fire, Johnson and another trooper ran after the man. Johnson said the man then ran towards Airport Road, and jumped into the passenger side of a mini-van.

Moments after the van sped away from the scene, it was pulled over by an Accomack County deputy and a Virginia State Trooper.

Investigators testified Bundick was driving the mini-van and Smith was in the passenger's seat.

Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin testified that he went to the scene of the arrest. Smith apologized saying, "I'm sorry, but I didn't light them all."

Investigators testified that Bundick did not speak and appeared calm during the arrest. During her interrogation, however, investigators said Bundick said she did not know Smith was going to set fire to the home on Airport Road; she said she drove Smith out to Melfa to take a break from her children.

Special agents testified that Smith was interviewed for more than four hours after his arrest on April 1. During the interrogation, Smith told investigators, "I knew we were busted before we did it. I even told her this place was a setup. She's smarter than me and said it wasn't. It was a dead giveaway.

There were too many cars there. I had never seen that many cars."

The owner of the property on Airport Road said even though the fire cost him $2,500 in damages, he has no ill feelings toward Bundick or Smith.

"It could have been burnt to the ground," Henry said. "I had only minor damages, approximately $25 hundred dollars of damage. It could have been worse, compared to those who lost everything."

The prosecuting attorney did not want to speak about the details of the hearing, but told the hearing is a step towards closure for residents in Accomack County.

"I think people are relieved that an arrest was made," said Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Agar.

Bundick and Smith will appear in court again for a grand jury hearing. The next grand jury in Accomack County meets the first Monday in August.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Two More Fires For Accomack County

**According to Sgt. Michelle Anaya of the Virginia State Police all five weekend fires were ruled arsons. That brings the official total of arson fires to 58.**

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 10:25 PM
25225 Savageville Road, Savageville, Virginia
Abandoned Residential Structure Fire
Melfa, Tasley,  Onancock, Onley fire departments responded.  When units arrived  one the scene the structure was fully involved.


Monday, March 4, 2013 - 11:20 PM
26900 block of Whites Crossing Road and Mears Station Road, Mears, Virginia (near Hallwood)
Fire was spotted by Virginia State Police aircraft.
Saxis, Atlantic, Parksley, Bloxom responded to a fully involved structure fire.  Fire was found to be in the rear of the structure.

No injuries reported during either fire and both fires remain under investigation. Awaiting official word to declare these arsons 59 and 60.

A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in the series of arson fires.

If you have information call the Accomack County Sheriff's Department at 757-655-1437.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monday Night Fire Continues The Count - 53

The abandoned structure fire on the corner of the Saxis Road and Wessells Farm Road that occurred Monday, February 25, 2013 has been classified by investigators as arson.

This was the third fire in three days. Fire fighters and other emergency personel, along with police and investigators, were busy on Drummondtown Road in Wachapreague on Saturday evening.

Sunday evening another fire in an abandonded structure kept units busy also. These two fires have also been classified as arson.

Monday night's fire is the second fire set in an abandoned building in eight days to be set in the Saxis Road area.  On February 17, 2013 fire was set to an abandoned dwelling in the 29000 block of the same road.


No injuries  within the fire and emergency departements have been reported and it must be said that these brave men and women are doing a remarkable job in protecting properties and lives when they are called on at a moments notice.  They are volunteers that Accomack County residents can be proud of. 

These have been trying times for the residents of Accomack County and I don't suppose any people know that better than the families of the fire/emt/emergency personel, Accomack County Sheriff's Office, the Virginia State Police and all the investigators who have been anxiously seeking an answer to the fires that have plaqued Accomack County since November 12, 2012.

Monday nights fire brings the total of arson to 53.

A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this or any other of the more than 50 arson fires reported since November 13, 2012.

The number to call,text or email is 757-655-1437.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday Night Structure Fire- Accomack County

Sunday, February 24, 2013 - 9:30 PM
Beacon Hill Road (past fire training center/near Accomack County Animal Control and airport)

Structure 90% involved when reported.

No injuries reported.  Onancock, Tasley, Onley and Melfa units responded.

The fire is still under investigation to determine if this is another arson and to link it to the previous 50 arsons that have been set in Accomack County since November 12, 2012.

A reward of $25,000 is being offered.

Anyone with information about the arsons and/or individual(s) responsible is encouraged to contact law enforcement via a new Tip Line dedicated to these investigations.

Text, call or email at 757-655-1437

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Virginia State Police Offer Rewards With New Program

The Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft Program (H.E.A.T) is looking for the publics' help in putting an end to the illegal towing of abandoned, disabled or otherwise unattended vehicles. This state-wide problem is the result of the rising price of scrap metal. In an effort to combat this problem, the H.E.A.T. Program is offering rewards up to $25,000 for information about illegally towed vehicles or salvage yards that are purchasing these vehicles.

These vehicles are being towed from the side of the road and private properties as well as from public parking lots. It only takes eight seconds to a couple of minutes for a tow truck to pick up a car and drive off. The cars and trucks that are being stolen are generally older, heavier vehicles. Ultimately, these cars are sold to salvage yards or demolishers for their scrap metal value.

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to find an unmarked tow truck getting ready to haul off your vehicle. When questioned, the driver says he's at the wrong address, but can't provide the correct address. Or, your car has some engine trouble, so you pull off the highway, call a friend to come pick you up so you can get help, and when you get back to your car, it is nowhere to be found.

These are just two examples of how unscrupulous tow truck drivers get away with stealing abandoned or unattended vehicles. If you have any knowledge about illegal towing, contact the H.E.A.T. Hot Line at or 1-800-947-HEAT (4328). If you have information that leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a H.E.A.T. reward of up to $25,000 and you will remain anonymous.

The H.E.A.T. Program is also offering the following advice to help Virginia citizens hang
on to their vehicles.

Drivers should always lock your vehicle and take the keys.

Park in a well-lit area.

If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle pull in to the parking space. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles should be backed in to the parking space. Always set the
emergency brake.

Don't leave disabled vehicles abandoned on the side of the road. Call a reputable
tow truck operator or contact local law enforcement or the Virginia State Police.

Tow truck operators may attempt to coerce drivers into surrendering their vehicle,
which may result in the vehicle being shredded or held for exorbitant storage and
recovery fees.

Drivers should record all information about the tow truck, including tow truck company name and phone number, the truck's tag number, the operator's name and the tow truck's description.
The company name and phone number must be displayed on the side of the truck. Drivers should not let anyone tow their vehicle if that information is not prominently displayed.

If you have any knowledge about illegal towing, other vehicle thefts including motorcycles, or information about chop shops, contact the H.E.A.T. Hot Line at or 1-800-947-HEAT (4328). If you have information that leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a H.E.A.T. reward of up to $25,000 and you will remain anonymous.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Va. State Police Ask Hunters Help In Tracking Narcotics

With hunting season in full swing, the Virginia State Police is asking for the public's assistance with reporting suspicious activity relating to drug activity and marijuana grow sites. This summer more than 35,000 marijuana plants were eradicated throughout Virginia with the assistance of federal, state and local law enforcement officials as part of the Governor's Initiative Against Narcotics Trafficking (G.I.A.N.T) program.

"The discovery and destruction of these illegal grows have played a significant role in preventing marijuana from reaching the streets and Virginia's youth," said Lt. Richard A. Childers, Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Richmond Drug Enforcement Section. "In addition to the more than 180 arrests resulting from the 2010 GIANT initiative, millions of dollars have also been kept out of the hands of drug dealers."

Because the cultivation of marijuana is a year-round process, law enforcement needs Virginians - especially hunters - to be on alert to what may indicate an area being used to illegally grow marijuana.

Signs include:

- an obscured/hidden clearing in the woods, swamp or corn fields possibly near or with reasonable access to water;

- shovels, pails to haul water, bags of fertilizer and/or chemicals discarded near the clearing;

- random, well-trampled trails leading into the woods or swamp.

Hunters are advised not to confront anyone they may encounter near a clearing or possible grow site. Instead, please take mental notes of what you see, smell and hear at that location, and then report it to law enforcement.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Drug Diversion Unit at 1-800-553-DOPE (3673). You can also contact your local law enforcement to report illegal activity. Information you provide can result in a cash reward and all information is confidential.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Unusual Number of Structure Fires Being Investigated

State Police are investigating the rash of fires that occured on both ends of the Eastern Shore late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

The 911 Center received a reports of a fire at 10:20 PM at 5202 Cobbs Station Rd. near Cheriton.

At 10:21 there was a report of a fire at 23776 Ann's Cove Rd. near Bloxom.
Another fire was called into the 911 center at 11:20 which was at 64 Kerr St. in Onancock.

Then at 3:30 AM fire destroyed a building at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Wachapreague.

State Police investigators are trying to determine if any of the fires were arson and if there is any connection among them. It is very unusual to have that many fires within such a short period of time on the Eastern Shore.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Accomack Man Indicted In Shooting Death Of Delaware Man

A 23-year-old man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges including capital murder and robbery in connection with something that initially appeared to be a fatal traffic crash but was actually a shooting, a Virginia State Police news release said.

Brian Marquis Northan, of Accomack County, was being held in the county jail on unrelated charges. These new charges stem from a June vehicle crash.

On June 24 at 7:27 a.m., state police were called to the 20000 block of Bailey Road in Accomack County and found a 1996 Chevrolet pickup truck had run off the road and hit an embankment. Trooper K.J. Johnson found a body outside the vehicle, later identified as Anthony W. Wilson, 46, of Fenton, Del.

The trooper determined evidence at the scene was not consistent with a traffic crash, the news release said, and notified state police special agents. Further investigation revealed Wilson had been shot to death.

No additional details about what led to the fatal shooting were released.

Northan was indicted Monday and also faces charges of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Police said the investigation with the Accomack County Sheriff's Office continues.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

2010 Eastern Shore Citizen of the Year Slain In Her Home

EXMORE – Sharone White Bailey, the 2010 Eastern Shore Citizen of the Year who was slain at her home Friday in broad daylight, was fatally stabbed, according to a report from the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office on Saturday morning also released the name of the man accused in the killing.

Derrick Demond Epps, 36, of Exmore, is charged with first degree murder, entering a dwelling house with intent to commit murder, and assault and battery of a police officer, according to Sheriff’s Office Major David Doughty.
Doughty said the office received a 1:36 p.m. emergency call for a stabbing at 11098 Occohannock Neck Road, Exmore.
When officers arrived on the scene they discovered the body of Bailey, 57, who was a part owner and clinical director for Belle Haven-based Therapeutic Interventions, a community mental health provider.
Shortly after officers arrived on the scene Epps was apprehended and charged.
He is being held at the Eastern Shore Regional Jail with bond denied.
The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Exmore Police Department, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, and the Virginia State Police.
“Due to the fact that there is a continuing investigation into this matter no further information will be released at this time,” said Doughty in a prepared release.
Virginia Department of Transportation workers on Friday afternoon blocked access to Bailey's residence while authorities collected evidence at the crime scene.
Last month she was named 2010 Eastern Shore Citizen of the Year at the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting, held at the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club.
Jeanette Edwards, director of Human Resources and Development for Eastern Shore Rural Health System Inc., who nominated Bailey and presented her with the award, called Bailey "an extraordinary individual whose leadership skills, kind spirit and compassion create a better community for all who live, work and love the Eastern Shore."
Bailey was an active member and secretary of the Eastern Shore Rural Health Board of Directors and has spearheaded efforts through churches and agencies to raise funds for the new Onley Community Health Center.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Virginia State Police Remind Teens To BUCKLE UP!

New July 1 Seatbelt Law Focuses on 16 & 17-year-old Passenger Safety

As of July 1, 2010, in Virginia:

Children from birth through seven years of age must be safely secured in a child safety restraint (to include booster seats).

Those passengers between the ages of eight and 17 must wear a seat belt while riding in the backseat and front seat of a vehicle.

Existing law requires everyone sitting in the front seat of a vehicle to be buckled up.

"We lose far too many young people in traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways because they fail to use a seat belt," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "Too many teens think they are invincible; yet no one is a match for what can happen when unbuckled and involved in a motor vehicle collision. The few seconds it takes to buckle up could save your life on the road."

In 2009, 51 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 were killed in traffic crashes statewide. None of them was buckled up.* The death rate was slightly higher in 2008 when 72 unrestrained teens and young adults between 15 and 20 years of age lost their lives in traffic crashes.*

Throughout the summer months, Virginia State Police will be concentrating on occupant restraint violations through enforcement and education as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign. Statistics show that with the proper use of seat belts, drivers and passengers are 40 percent less likely to be fatally injured during a traffic crash.*

# # #


Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, DMV

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Search For Fugitive Wanted On Drug Charges

The Virginia State Police, the Eastern Shore Drug Task Force, and the DEA's Norfolk Office are currently searching for a notorious drug dealer wanted on a federal warrant stemming from a multi-agency investigation in Northampton County on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Jonathan Manwell Johnson, 28, is a black male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, and 160 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. His last known address was in the 2700 block of Arlington Road in Northampton County. Johnson has family in the Philadelphia area, and may flee there to avoid prosecution.

Johnson is known to carry firearms and has a violent criminal history. He should be considered armed and dangerous. He is wanted for conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilos of cocaine.

A reward is being offered for information resulting in the arrest of Johnson.
Anyone with information on this subject is asked to contact the following agencies. Anonymous tips are welcome.

Virginia State Police: 1-800-582-8350 Toll-free in Virginia

Eastern Shore Task Force: 757-414-0746

Northampton County Sheriff's Office: 757-678-0458

Accomack County Sheriff's Office: 757-787-1131