Police open joint investigation to solve arsons

by: Jeff Smith Updated:

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CONCORD, N.C. - Concord police detectives on Thursday opened up a joint investigation with Kannapolis police to try and solve eight unsolved arsons from the last few weeks. 

Police said an arsonist set fire to a building behind the South Concord Church of God on Wednesday night. The building was used to teach children's Bible study classes.

"It's very scary, very scary," said neighbor Tammy Hagler, who lives across the street from the church. "There was some type of explosion and the house was rattling and moving."

Police said the fire caused hundreds of dollars in damages.

"I just think it's an awful, awful disgrace that anybody would want to destroy church property," Hagler said.

There were two other unsolved arsons in Concord recently, which caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. On May 14, a home on Sunderland Road was badly damaged. And in June, another home on Sunderland Road was burned to the ground.

"There are a number of these incidents, a few here in Concord, a few here in Kannapolis," said Concord's Deputy Police Chief, Allen Overcash.

Kannapolis police, in fact, are investigating five recent unsolved arsons that have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

Over the last two weeks, arsonists started a fire at the Burger King on N Cannon Blvd., as well as a home on N Main Street. Earlier in September, several other vacant homes were badly damaged.

Police believe at least two of the fires were started from inside the crawl spaces. That's why on Thursday, Concord firefighters met with Kannapolis police to review case notes from all eight suspicious fires.

"We're looking if anyone was seen in the area, if there's a common accelerant that was used to start the fire, that type of thing. Any common thread we can find," Overcash said.

At this point, police are jointly investigating, but they're not definitively saying any of these fires are connected.

Concord detectives will follow up with Kannapolis police over the next few days as more evidence is processed.