BOONE — An Ashe County man was charged with one count of felony burning of an uninhabited house and one count of misdemeanor breaking and entering related to a December house fire.
According to Boone Police, its department and the Boone Fire Department responded to an uninhabited house fire located at 651 Old East King St. at 9:19 p.m. on Dec. 26. It was determined that an unknown suspect set multiple fires within the structure that had been vacant for the last four years. Boone Police stated that the house was a common area for homeless individuals to be found sleeping and taking shelter from the weather.
Bobby Allen Pennington, 41, of Ashe County, was served with an arrest warrant on Jan. 7 after a joint investigation between the Boone Fire Department and Boone Police Department. According to Boone Police, it collected several pieces of evidence that led to the identification of Pennington as the primary suspect. Boone Police Detective Cpl. Candace Burlingame located Pennington — who was in custody at the Ashe County Dentition Facility on a parole violation for burning of personal property and calling in a false bomb report on a public building — to serve him the Watauga warrant.
The burning of personal property and false bomb report convictions were handed down in September 2017. After serving time in jail, Pennington was released for parole in June 2019; his parole was planned to end on March 11.
Pennington was taken before an Ashe County magistrate on the felony burning of an uninhabited house and misdemeanor breaking and entering charges; he was issued a $30,000 secured bond and a Feb. 14 court date.
“This case is still under further investigation along with three other suspected arson cases within the last six months,” Boone Police stated. “This case is a great example of how well the fire investigators with the Boone Fire Department and general detectives of the Boone Police Department worked together for one common goal.”
Both departments have several other arson cases under investigation, and ask for community members to contact the Boone Police with any additional information about the additional arson cases. Anyone with information on this crime or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (828) 268-6959 / (828) 737-0125 or the Boone Police Department at (828) 268-6900. Submit a Crime Stoppers tip at www.tipsubmit.com/webtips.aspx?AgencyID=1251 or text “NCTIP plus your tip” to 274637 (CRIMES). All information will be kept confidential.