PEMBROKE — Two men have been charged in connection with a fire that broke out at a Pembroke church while they attempted to siphon gasoline from a van, according to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.
John David Oxendine, 28, and Quentin Ray Chavis, 25, are each charged with injury to real property, injury to personal property and larceny for the June 19 blaze at Friendship Mission Baptist Church on Prospect Road.
After the fire, investigators found a battery-powered pump wired to a melted plastic tub near the church’s 15-passenger van. Lt. Brian Duckworth, arson investigator for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, said it appears the device sparked, causing the van to catch fire. The fire destroyed the van and singed a carport it was under.
“The van was brand new and the church had been remodeled,” Duckworth said in a statement. “Damage was about $50,000 to $60,000 on the items burnt.”
Oxendine, who lives on Trixie Drive in Pembroke, remains in the Robeson County Detention Center under a $2,500 bond.
Chavis, of Saint Anna Road, Pembroke, made his $2,500 bond shortly after being jailed, a jail adminstrator said. Chavis was also served with warrants for injury to personal property and communicating threats, Duckworth said.