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Recaptured fugitive, others accused in arson-for-insurance scheme

BECKLEY — Four West Virginia residents face charges after allegedly setting fire to a home to collect insurance money, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

George and Rebecca Bonnell, Samuel “Joey” Oldaker and Chad E. Cook are accused of first degree arson, burning insured property and conspiracy, according to a news release.

The charges allege the Bonnells hired Cook, a work-release inmate at the Beckley Correctional Center, to burn their home in Harrison County so they could collect more than $171,000 in insurance.

Cook was interviewed on May 22 about the fire, then escaped from the correctional center the following day, according to the release.

He was recaptured on July 20 in Roanoke, Va., where he remains in jail.

— Staff reports


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