Woman charged over spate of US arson attacks


Police in Virginia have charged a woman with arson as part of an investigation into a spate of suspicious fires that have ravaged a remote corner of the US state in recent months.

Tonya Bundick was charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in connection with a fire at a vacant residence in Accomack County. The blaze occurred late on Monday night – the latest in almost 80 fires that have hit the county since November. It was discovered at around 11:40pm and extinguished before it could cause much damage.

Ms Bundick was arrested just after midnight at a traffic stop near the scene of the blaze. The 40 year-old has not been linked to the other fires, most of which also occurred at night. She is being held without bail in the county jail, according to the Virginia State Police.

Local authorities are still offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in connection with the fires.

Speaking to journalists after Christmas, when the number of attacks had climbed to 38, Sgt Jean-Paul Koushel said the arsonist had created “a climate of fear” within the community. “We’ve never had an arsonist destroy so many structures in such a short period of time,” he said.