Police: Man burned down ex-girlfriend's house, robbed bank

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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LINCOLNTON, N.C. —

Police are searching for a man accused of arson and robbing a bank and they consider him armed and dangerous.

Jean Pierre Gendron has a long criminal history and fire officials fear now that he has money to buy even more guns, he could be even more dangerous.

Police, deputies, fire officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are looking for Gendron.

They said he could be in Gastonia, Cherryville, Lincolnton or he could be fleeing the state in a stolen car.

No matter where he is, they believe he’s a danger to the public.

Gendron is 49 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 147 pounds.

He has a noticeable Boston accent and multiple tattoos, including a cross on his left arm and the word "jade" on his back.

Gendron's latest crime spree started Monday at his ex-girlfriend's home in Cherryville. Her neighbor called 911 after a car stopped to tell him the home was on fire, according to authorities.

"I went and got my phone, and I called 911,” neighbor Bill Lovelace said.  “And that's when I saw the flames coming out of the house.”

Officials believe Gendron started the fire.

Two days later, authorities said he showed up at a bank in Lincolnton.

“If that's the one, he needs to be caught,” Lovelace said. 

According to police, he gave the teller at People's Bank a note demanding money and told that teller to give him no dye packs or he'd shoot.

He got away with cash, which authorities believe makes him especially dangerous.

“With money he can buy guns if he didn't have one,” Deputy Fire Marshal Allen Middleton said. ”I suspect he had one in the bank robbery."

He left the bank in a stolen burgundy 2004 Nissan Altima, according to investigators.

Now they want everyone to be on the lookout for Gendron and the car because it could save lives.

“He's a desperate person,” Middleton said. “He's demonstrated a violent history against police officers and women. So there's no reason to believe he won't do it again.”

The stolen Altima has North Carolina plates, ZWK - 5567. If you see the suspect or the car, you're urged to call police and not to approach Gendron. He's considered armed and dangerous.

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