Scotland County MPs arrest man linked to church fire near Laurinburg

SCOTLAND COUNTY, North Carolina (WBTW) – Scotland County authorities have arrested a man they are calling a “person of interest” in Friday morning’s fire that burned down a church near Laurinburg.

Deputies arrested Zackery Lee Reaves, 32, on Friday on charges unrelated to the fire, but did not say what those charges were. He was given $250,000 bond and taken to Scotland County Jail.

Investigators said the fire that caused extensive damage to the Springfield Holiness Pentecostal Church was started intentionally and Reaves was identified as a “person of interest” early in their investigation.

Crews were called to the church fire around 1:10 a.m. It was brought under control about an hour later, authorities said. Between 30 and 40 firefighters from several departments helped fight the blaze.

Reaves faces charges of burning down a church or religious building; breaking and entering and/or entering a place of worship; and theft after breaking and entering, the sheriff’s office said.

He has a criminal history that includes a second degree burglary conviction in Horry County. He was sentenced in 2013 to eight years in prison. In January 2016, he escaped from the State Department of Corrections’ Catawba pre-release facility in Rock Hill.

The church fire is still under investigation by sheriff’s deputies.

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Jerry B. Hatch