Showing posts with label arson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arson. 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.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Check Points Continue In Accomack County

Check points began Friday night and will continue until Tuesday in Accomack County.  Uniformed troopers, deputy sheriffs, and police officers will be on patrol until 1 a.m.  handing out flyers in their attempt to gather information and to spread awareness concerning the 64 arsons that have struck the county since November 12, 2012.
Your patience and cooperation is appreciated at these random locations.

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

Structure Found Smouldering.....Accomack County

Wednesday February 27, 2013
Reported structure fire at the end of Orchard Road in Parksley, Virgina. (Fisher's Corner)  It is believed that the fire began sometime in the early morning hours but due to the weather conditions Tuesday evening and location of the structure the fire was not reported until much later as (people began to go to work) and had burned to the ground before fire departments were  notified.

Virginia State Police are investigating and have not commented as to whether this is another arson.

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 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

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Accomack County/ Abandoned Trailer Fire

9:25 PM- Saturday, February 16, 2013
Fire companies were called to an abandoned trailer fire at 6107 Lankford Highway- behind Corner Mart in Nelsonia.  Atlantic, Bloxom, Parksley, and Tasley responded.

The trailer was fully involved when units arrived at the scene.  The evenings fire is under investigation by the Virginia State Police.  Officials stated that the owners used the abandoned trailer to block view of their private property from the public.

The reward is now $25,000 and a Tip Line has been set up.

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

Text, call or email at 757-655-1437.

Friday, February 15, 2013

REWARD Increased and HOT LINE Has Been Set UP


The Accomack County Sheriff’s Office is putting forth funds to increase the reward related to the Accomack County arsons. As of Thursday, persons coming forward with information that leads to an arrest and conviction in these cases could be eligible for a reward of up to $25,000.
To notify the Eastern Shore community about the reward increase and a new Accomack County Arson Tip Line number, state police and the sheriff’s office are also distributing and posting new printed fliers throughout the Eastern Shore. 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.

“The sheriff’s office and state police have received an overwhelming response from the public with tips and information, but there are still residents out there who know something about the persons involved in setting the fires,” Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin said. “I hope the increase in the reward will help persuade these residents to now come forward. These fires must be stopped – for the safety of our property owners, for the safety of our volunteer firefighters, and for the safety and wellbeing of our close-knit community.”

From Nov. 12, 2012, through Feb. 11, 2013, there have been 48 structure and debris fires intentionally set in Accomack County. On Feb. 13, 2013, it was discovered that someone tried to burn down the Leatherbury United Methodist Church in Onancock, Va. The church building suffered only minor damage. No one, to date, has been injured in any of the arsons.

“As we have stated before, state police are aggressively pursuing all leads related to these arsons,” Capt. T.A. Reibel, Commander of the BCI Chesapeake Field Office. “We are also confident, based on the evidence collected at the scenes, that the majority of the arsons are the work of a collaboration of individuals. The information needed to put a stop to these fires and effect an arrest is out there – we just need the right people to text us, call us or email us with what they know.”

Initially, a $5,000 reward was made available through the International Association of Arson Investigators ( The Sheriff’s Office is allocating the additional $20,000.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Twin Fires For Accomack On Monday Night

**Virginia State Police have ruled the double fires last night as arson.

A third fire occurred earlier Tuesday morning in Northampton County.  No word on whether this fire can be linked to the other fires in Accomack County.**
Fire #47
Monday- February 11, 2013  9:20 pm
Abandoned structure fire- 19241 Quinby Bridge Road

When fire units arrived the back of the abandoned structure was fully involved.

Fire #48
- February 11, 2013  9:36 pm
Fire units were called to a another structure fire on Rose Cottage and Seaside Road.  Fireman arrived on the second scene to find the structure fully involved and almost burned to the ground.

According to WESR,  Melfa, Wachapreague Tasley, Onley, Onancock and Parksley responded.  Multiple units responded but three engines and two tankers were retained at the scene. The other units  returned to their stations.

Virginia State Police are investigating twin fires and ask the public if you have information to please call.

Information that leads to an arrest and conviction could result in an award of up to $5,000 from the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (

Additional numbers to reach the Virginia State Police Chesapeake Headquarters are toll-free at 1-800-582-8350 or at (757) 424-6820; the Accomack County Sheriffs Office can also be contacted at (757) 787-1131.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Structure Fire In Accomack County

At 9:12 PM Wednesday Accomack County fire companies were called to the scene of  a structure fire on  Ticktown Lane in Accomac, Va.  The fire companies responding were Tasley, Onley, Onancock, Parksley, Bloxom, and Melfa.  Virginia Forestry also responded to the scene.

Ticktown Road is just off Wharton Road.  Passengers in a vehicle on Route 13 headed South saw the fire glow in the sky and reported it to 911.

It is not known  at this time if this fire is related to the string of arsons that have occured in Accomack County since November 12.


The Virginia State Police and the Accomack County Sheriff's Department are again asking anyone who sees something out of the ordinary no mater how insignificant it may seem, to contact them.

To report a tip, call: 1-800-582-8350 or (757) 424-6820; or call the Accomack County Sheriff's Office at (757) 787-1131.

A $5000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the party responsible for setting the fires.

The Virginia State Police along with its Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and the Accomack County Sheriff's Office have been investigating the fires.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Abandoned Structure Fire #22

At approximately 11pm Wednesday night another abandoned structure fire was reported to the 911 Center. Melfa,Onley, Wachapreague and Melfa were dispatched to the fire at 29278 Racetrack Road near Melfa.

Firefighters arrived to find the structure fully involved and situated close to the woods. Brush trucks were called in to assist.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in approximately 10 minutes.

The Virginia State Police and the Accomack County Sheriff's Department are investigating.

This brings the number of abandoned structure fires in Accomack County since November 12 to 22. The Virginia State Police and the Accomack County Sheriff's Department continue their investigation of the string of alleged arsons.

A $5000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the party responsible for setting the fires.

To report a tip, call: 1-800-582-8350 or (757) 424-6820; or call the Accomack County Sheriff's Office at (757) 787-1131.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Accomack County Arsons- Virginia State Police


$5,000 Reward for Information
VSP arson investigators and the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office are working several new leads in their efforts to identify and apprehend a serial arsonist at work in Accomack County. Since Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, through the morning of Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, a total of 20 abandoned structures have been destroyed by fire at various locations within the Eastern Shore county. There were no fires set overnight Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, or overnight Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012.

The locations of the arsons have ranged from Melfa to Parksley to Oak Hall. The fires target abandoned structures, to include vacated houses, abandoned barns and even chicken coops. The fires have been set any time between 8:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. in the morning. No injuries or deaths have resulted from the fires.

"The Accomack County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police have received a significant number of tips related to these arsons," said Accomack County Sheriff Todd E. Godwin. "We want to thank the many residents who have reached out to us in the past week with information. As a result of the public’s overwhelming response and assistance, we have developed several strong leads we are currently pursuing at this time."

Investigators are still encouraging anyone with information about the fires or recalls seeing any vehicles or individual(s) near the destroyed structures is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police Chesapeake Headquarters toll-free at 1-800-582-8350 or at (757) 424-6820; or contact the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office at (757) 787-1131.

"Based on our ongoing investigation, we feel certain that the person or persons responsible for these fires is a resident of Accomack County and is known to local residents," said Capt. Tim Reibel, Commander of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Chesapeake Field Office. "This individual is going to be coming and going at different hours of the night, may be acting differently in his or her behavior, and will probably show an unusual interest in media coverage of the fires and/or consistently steer conversations to talking about the fires."

Information that leads to an arrest and conviction could result in an award of up to $5,000 from the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keen Eyes and Cameras Help Nab Deshield

Believe that the cameras placed around Pocomoke don't work, aren't helpful and don't get used if you want to but they DO work. 

The keen eye of a Pocomoke fire/emergency person, seeing smoke as they traveled  over the Pocomoke City bridge downtown early on Sunday, August 21, 2011 aided in keeping the fires set in Pocomoke's Cypress Park  to  a minimum.

The alarm sounded around 6:46 am with the Pocomoke City Volunteer Fire Company arriving just minutes later.

Rodney Sharpley from the Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office determined that the fires set in the restrooms, a park pavilion and at the children's playground was a result of arson.

The cameras, positioned in the park, were viewed immediatly and the person seen leaving the park was recognized by one of the Pocomoke City police officers. The subject was taken to the Pocomoke City police station for questioning and arrested.
Arrested was Anthony Deshield of Pocomoke City.   Deshield was charged with 2nd Deg. Arson, 2nd Deg. Malicious Burning and Malicious Destruction of property of another.

It was determined that Deshield did not use any type of flammable materials or excellerants in starting the fires. He has been denied bond.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fire Ruled Arson In Pocomoke Apartment Building


The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is assisting the Pocomoke Police Department with a fire investigation at Lynnhaven Acres Apartments. 

The apartment complex is located at 806 Lynnhaven Drive, Pocomoke, Maryland. 

The Pocomoke PD was requested to respond to the above mentioned address for reported smoke in a structure. 

Upon their arrival they observed a small amount of smoke in an apartment building with burnt paper lying on the ground just outside of the apartment building. 

 Pocomoke PD reported the burnt paper was hanging on a board just inside the door and was removed and extinguished prior to their arrival.  The fire was intentionally set or arson. 

 Anyone with additional information should contact Chief Deputy Matt Owens at 410-632-5666 ext. 2 or

Thursday, January 6, 2011

18-Month Sentence For Ocean City Man

SNOW HILL -- An Ocean City man who set fire to an abandoned concrete plant was sentenced to 18 months in jail for second-degree arson.

John Edward Cropper, 46, was first given a harsher, 10-year sentence by Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas C. Groton III. The judge suspended all but 18 months of the sentence, telling Cropper if he slipped up again, he'd face the remaining years behind bars.

Additional charges of malicious destruction of property and trespassing merged with the arson charge. Cropper's sentence also includes five years of supervised probation and $1,170 in fines and court fees. The judge authorized the 18 months to be served on work release.

Assistant Worcester County State's Attorney Diane Cuilhe sought a harsher sentence -- second-degree arson carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and a $30,000 fine -- based on Cropper being charged with a string of arsons in 1987.

According to Joel Todd, who was a deputy state's attorney at the time, Cropper became the main suspect in a series of Ocean City arsons in the 1980s. Officials eventually found probable cause to charge him, but in court he was found not criminally responsible.

Cuilhe said prosecutors believe Cropper poses a risk as a repeat offender based on comments he made to authorities at the time of the 1987 incidents: "I light 'em and I fight 'em."

In court, Cropper apologized for the fires set this spring, saying he's raising a 13-year-old son who "would greatly resent it" if his father were jailed. He also said he works full-time as an engineer on a clamming boat and can't miss work.

The judge noted Cropper's record of minor offenses, which include arrests for theft, burglary and drug possession.

Ocean City Police said on the evening of March 28, an officer on patrol stopped Cropper as he was walking near the Cropper Concrete plant. Though they share a name, the plant's owners and the defendant are unconnected.

Cropper, who rents a home on nearby St. Louis Avenue, claimed he was looking for his dog. The officer testified to noticing a strong smell of lighter fluid or gasoline on him. The officer let Cropper go and, with another officer, did a property check of the plant.

Inside a maintenance building, the officers smelled smoke and eventually found two small fires burning. The officers put out the fires and quickly brought Cropper back for questioning.

Cropper at first denied that he had been on the concrete plant grounds. But police found dirt on his boots that matched that of the property, and found his hands reeking of a flammable liquid, as well as black marks on his hands.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sellers Convicted Of First Degree Arson In Worcester County

A man with no permanent address has been convicted of First Degree Arson from a house fire that occurred on Keyser Point Road in Ocean City back on April 11th. Thomas Sellers was arrested on September 1st. Then earlier this month, Worcester County Circuit Court convicted Sellers of intentionally setting the blaze. A Pre Sentence Investigation has been ordered.
December 6, 2010 – West Ocean City Arson Conviction
Written by Matt Owens

Monday, 06 December 2010 12:45 The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office has been investigating an April 11, 2010 residential house fire at 10359 Keyser Point Road, Ocean City, Maryland in Worcester County. Evidence and information from interviews led to the September 1, 2010 arrest of Thomas W. Sellers, (no permanent address). On December 1, 2010, Worcester County Circuit Court convicted Sellers of First Degree Arson. A Pre Sentence Investigation has been ordered. Anyone with additional questions is asked to contact Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Matthew Owens at 410-632-5666 x 2 or at

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.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Son Threatens To Burn Down Parents Home

This guy has just recently been let out of jail from serving TWO second-degree assault convictions! He stabbed someone in the THROAT back in 2009 and now has threaten his own Mother and Father. Real nice guy........Served two months of a six month sentence!!!

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on threat of arson and other charges this week after allegedly threatening to burn down his parents’ home with them in it just weeks after his release from jail for a pair of assault convictions related to a stabbing incident.

Around 6 p.m. on Sunday, Maryland State Police troopers from the Salisbury barrack met with a couple in Salisbury who reported their son had threatened to kill them and burn their house down. According to the complainants, their son, Nathaniel Irving Schneider, 21, of Berlin, had recently been kicked out of the family home over domestic-related issues.

According to police reports, for a period of about one week, Schneider allegedly made numerous threats to his mother that he was going to burn their house down with his parents in it and then kill himself. Schneider was reportedly living with another family member in Worcester County when he made the threats.

Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack, along with Natural Resources Police (NRP), located Schneider, who was hiding in the Worcester home. Schneider was taken into custody and transported back to Wicomico where the treats occurred and was charged with threat of arson and obscene telephone misuse. He is being held in Wicomico County on a $50,000 bond.

Schneider was recently released from jail after serving about two months of a six-month sentence for a pair of second-degree assault convictions from a stabbing incident in West Ocean City on New Year’s Eve. Shortly before 9 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2009, police responded to the Royal Farms store on Route 50 in West Ocean City for a reported stabbing.

The investigation revealed the reported attack had taken place at a nearby residence on Old Bridge Rd. MSP troopers identified one victim had been stabbed in the throat and upper left arm, while a juvenile had been hit over the head with a beer bottle.

The victims both identified Schneider as the attacker in the incident and he was arrested and charged with two counts each of first- and second-degree assault. In May, Schneider entered an Alford Plea to two counts of second-degree assault and was sentenced to three years in jail with all but six months suspended.

Schneider was then given credit for the 125 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, making his release date sometime in July, just weeks before his alleged threat to burn down his parents’ house in Salisbury.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Second Person Charged In Walmart Arson

Fire marshals announced new charges in an arson case involving potato chips set on fire in the Pocomoke Walmart.

Officials said Lamar Rashad Watson, 20, of Pocomoke City was charged as an accomplice in the Feb. 11 fire.

Police had already charged Vincent V. Harmon, 20, of Pocomoke City with lighting chips on fire in a store aisle. The ensuing blaze caused about $1 million in damaged food, equipment and merchandise, officials said, and caused the store to close for about two days for cleanup.

Watson was held on $150,000 bond at the Worcester County Jail.