South Carolina Repair Shop Owner Charged with Hiring Arsonist

August 29, 2014

The owner of a Norway, South Carolina auto repair shop has been charged with third degree arson after prosecutors say he hired a man to burn his business.

The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported that prosecutors say Thomas Blake hired 52-year-old Ernest Leland Smith of Norway to burn his property. Authorities said Blake gave Smith the gasoline to burn the building.

Blake’s attorney Gerald Davis said his client was in frail health, but he would return to court.

The Aug. 6 fire burned the Blake Auto Sales shop, a ministry and another shop. No one was hurt.

Smith has been charged with two counts of third-degree arson for the auto shop fire. It was not clear if he has a lawyer.

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