One of the vacant homes recently damaged by arson in Accomack County, Va. (Photo: WBOC)
ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va.– Authorities announced Monday that a reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a serial arsonist at work in Accomack County on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
Since Tuesday, Nov. 13, through the morning of Saturday, Nov. 24, investigators said a total of 20 abandoned structures have been destroyed by fire at various locations within the county.
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. No injuries or deaths have resulted from the fires, according to Virginia State Police arson investigators and the Accomack County Sheriff's Office, which are handling the arson probe.
"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."
"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 VSP 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."
Investigators are still encouraging anyone with information about the fires or recalls seeing any vehicles or anyone near the destroyed structures to call the VSP 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.
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 ( http://www.vaiaai.com ).