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Ex-Firefighter, Fiancee Charged In Eastern Shore Arson Spree

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Tonya Bundick, pictured, and fiance Charles Smith III are being charged in connection with several of the arsons.
NBC Washington
Tonya Bundick, pictured, and fiance Charles Smith III are being charged in connection with several of the arsons.

A months-long mystery in Accomack County, Virginia is coming to a close. Police are charging two Eastern Shore residents in a spree of more than 70 arsons across the county since November, and one of those charged is a former firefighter.

The arsonists have stumped law enforcement, fire after fire, burning vacant buildings just steps from occupied homes and businesses, then disappearing. On Monday night, police pulled over a suspicious minivan after the latest fire, and arrested Tonya Bundick and fiancé Charles Smith III.

"We now have a very complex prosecution ahead of us, due to the sheer number of arsons these two people are responsible for setting," says Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Smith and Bundick lived together, and ran businesses side by side: a body shop and a childrens clothing shop.

Their wedding reception was going to be at the Salty Dog bar in Tasley, according to bartender Trisha Flynn. She says Bundick was a regular customer, but in her mind, never a suspect.

"She's probably the last person I would have guessed that would have been doing it," Flynn says.

Officials did not name a motive, though they did confirm Smith is a former volunteer firefighter with the county. The two are scheduled to be arraigned today.


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