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Virginia police arrest 2 in string of suspicious fires

By Dana Ford, CNN
April 3, 2013 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tonya S. Bundick, 40, and Charles R. Smith III, 38, face one count of arson each
  • They also each face one count of conspiracy to commit arson
  • Close to 80 suspicious fires have broken out in Accomack County since November
  • Spokeswoman: "We are confident that Bundick and Smith are responsible for the majority of the fires"

(CNN) -- Virginia police said Tuesday they have arrested two people they believe are responsible for the majority of suspicious fires set in Accomack County.

Close to 80 such fires have broken out in that county since November.

Tonya S. Bundick, 40, and Charles R. Smith III, 38, both of Parksley, Virginia, were arrested overnight without incident. Each was charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson, said Corinne Geller, a state police spokeswoman.

Virginia officials appealed for help

They were taken into custody after a traffic stop near an arson in the town of Melfa.

"Based on evidence collected since this morning and during the course of the investigation over the past five months, we are confident that Bundick and Smith are responsible for the majority of the fires set since November 12," she said.

Geller told reporters she believes additional charges are forthcoming.

Both Bundick and Smith are being held without bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear whether either had retained counsel.

State authorities received more than 1,200 tips related to the string of suspicious fires that shocked the quiet, country county, Geller said.

"We certainly hope that Accomack County can now return to the community that it once knew and probably wants to return to -- a tranquil, rural community where people can relax and not be afraid of ... losing their property or having a fire occur," the spokeswoman said.

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