house fireA homeless man has been charged in connection with a string of fires in vacant buildings in Spring Lake over the past week, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

Thomas Reilly, 50, of Spring Lake, is charged with three counts of burning certain buildings, the Sheriff’s Office said in a release. The charge means the structures were unoccupied, said Sgt. Mickey Locklear.

“If they had been occupied then it would have been arson,’’ Locklear said.

Around 5:30 p.m. Monday, the Sheriff's Office responded to 107 N. Betty St. in Spring Lake in reference to a vacant structure fire, the release said.

Arson detectives identified Reilly as the suspect and also linked him to two other structure fires, the Sheriff’s Office said in the release. One occurred Sept. 28 at 114 Pine Tree Lane and the other occurred Sunday at 1255 Spring Ave., the release said.

The fires were at two mobile homes and a residential structure, Locklear said. No one was living in the structures at the time, he said.

“With the quick response and hard work of the arson detectives, Reilly was quickly taken off the streets and prevented any further damage to the town of Spring Lake,’’ the Sheriff’s Office said in the release.

Reilly is being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a $250,000 secured bond. His first appearance was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the detention center.


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