A former firefighter and his girlfriend are responsible for a “majority” of more than 70 arsons along Virginia’s Eastern Shore, state police charged on Tuesday.
Virginia State Police said in a news conference that Tonya Bundick, 40, and Charles Smith III, 38, who also goes by the alias Charles Applegate, are charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson, NBC station WAVY TV reported.
Smith is a former captain of the Tasley Volunteer Fire Department, The Associated Press reported.
Virginia State Police spokesman Corinne Geller said that additional charges will be levied soon.
The two are being held without bail.
Bundick was arrested just after midnight in connection with a fire near Melfa.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by WAVY, a van was spotted dropping a person off at a residence on Airport Road. That individual was then seen setting a fire before being picked up a vehicle, which when stopped was being driven by Bundick with Smith as a passenger, the warrant said. During question, police say Smith indicated Bundick was involved in other arson fires, according to the warrant.
Some 77 arson fires, all to abandoned or unused buildings, were reported on the Eastern Shore since November. Police received more than 1,200 tips on the case.
Smith and Bundick were expected to be arraigned on Wednesday. It was unclear if they had an attorney.
Any motive for the fires remains unclear.
Bundrick, a mother of two, and Smith were planning to get married in May, friends told WAVY.