Fear persists weeks after Eastern Shore arson arrests

Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 23, 2013

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WTKR)  – Several weeks after Virginia State Police arrested the two people they say are responsible for the majority of the serial arson cases in Accomack County, the fear that gripped that community since last November continues to linger.

Virginia State Police said Tonya Bundick and her fiancee Charlie Smith are responsible for the majority of the 77 arson fires set in Accomack County between mid-November and early April. Both Bundick and Smith remain locked up without bond.

However, even with the pair behind bars, some who live in Accomack County said life has not returned to normal.

This weekend, Steve Perkins went to mow his Quinby, Va. yard when he discovered what he describes as a torch inside his barn.

The 4-foot stick with burlap wrapped around the end looked and smelled as though it had been soaked in a chemical.

“It was laying like right here with the burlap down lying towards that wood. And this is an old barn. This would've gone up like a match stick,” Perkins explained.

Perkins doesn't know how long it had been in the barn, but he and his wife believe it was left there by someone intent on burning it down.

“This thing has never been in here. I've lived here six years and it’s never been in here and now all of a sudden it’s in here,” Perkins explained. “Maybe they came down here in the night – and I always leave lights on in the house, so maybe they realized it was someone living here and then decided to bail. I don’t know.”

Perkins reported what he found to the Virginia State Police Arson investigators.

A state police spokeswoman told WTKR that investigators are still going through the more than 12,000 tips they’ve received in the case as they enter the prosecution phase.

Perkins is just glad that whatever it is he found in the barn never ignited.

“There’s a tractor in there, my lawnmower is in there. It could have blown up. It could have caught the barn on fire,” Perkins said. “If the wind blows right it could catch this house on fire.”