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Three Chase City men faces charges in Red Oak store arson / October 17, 2012
By Robert Benning
The Charlotte Gazette
Reprinted with permission

Three 20-year-old men from Chase City have been charged with arson and breaking and entering stemming from the Sept. 16 fire that destroyed the old Stewart Adams Store in Red Oak.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 16, firefighters from Bacon District, Drakes Branch, Keysville, Chase City and Clover fire departments converged on the old store along Hwy. 15 following a report of a structure fire.

The intense blaze was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene, and despite a concerted effort by all departments, the store was completely destroyed.

The home had been unoccupied at the time of the fire, and no electric power was going to the structure — so questions quickly arose concerning how the fire started.

Local fire officials were assisted by the Virginia State Police arson investigation team and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office in collecting evidence at the scene and beginning an investigation.

While that fire was still under investigation, a second fire occurred at the same location on Sept. 22.

That fire involved a 1970s model Lincoln Continental that was parked in the store parking lot.

The second fire raised even more questions, and investigators redoubled their efforts to find those responsible for the fires.

Working in conjunction with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County investigators recently arrested three Chase City men for their alleged connection to the two fires at Stewart Adams Store after receiving information on the crimes.

Aaron Newcomb, 20, Samuel Woodson, 20, and Michael Clough, 20, were each charged with one count of arson for the store fire, and one count of arson for the car fire.

In addition, all three were charged with one count of breaking and entering for allegedly breaking into the store prior to allegedly setting the blaze.

Newcomb currently remains in the Meherrin River Regional Jail, as he also faces charges in Mecklenburg County on other crimes.

Woodson is being held in the Charlotte County Jail without bond, and Clough was released on a $2,000 bond following his recent arrest.

Reports indicated that Woodson and Clough turned themselves in at the Sheriff’s Office after learning warrants had been issued for their arrests.

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By chance were these young gentlemen involved in a volunteer fire department? Seen too many young volunteer firefighters go out and start a blaze for the thrill of getting to put it out. Guess they don't think about damage they're doing to someone else's property and their own reputations.

Let 'em pull some jail time over it and think about what they've done.

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