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Virginia couple charged with arson after 77 fires ravage area

Tonya Susan Bundick is pictured in this handout courtesy of the Virginia State Police, April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Virginia State Police/Handout
Tonya Susan Bundick is pictured in this handout courtesy of the Virginia State Police, April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Virginia State Police/Handout

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - Virginia State Police arrested a couple on Tuesday in connection with 77 suspicious fires that have ravaged the state's Eastern Shore over the last five months, a police spokeswoman said.

Tonya Bundick, 40, and Charles Smith, 38, were arrested early on Tuesday after a traffic stop and charged with setting afire a vacant house in the town of Melfa that night, spokeswoman Corinne Geller told a news conference.

"We are confident that Bundick and Smith are guilty of the majority of fires" that have been set in the past five months, she told a news conference carried online by local media.

The Melfa fire caused slight damage and was quickly extinguished.

Bundick and Smith, who is also known as Charlie Applegate, are being held without bail. Each has been charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson.

Geller said she did not know their motives for setting the fires.

The blazes have been set in abandoned or vacant buildings, including houses, in Accomack County on the Delmarva Peninsula. No injuries have been reported.

(Reporting by Gary Robertson and Ian Simpson,; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Scott Malone and Eric Walsh)

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