Three arrested on arson, fraud charges

By John Peters - jpeters@mtairynews.com
Bonnie Neely -
William Neely -
Tabatha Cox -

Three Surry County residents were arrested by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Surry County Sheriff’s Office and charged with multiple crimes, including arson charges related to “several house fires” dating back to several suspicious blazes in early 2017.

Arrested were Mount Airy residents William Lendall Neely, 61, and Bonnie Harrell Neely, 64, of 154 Monroe Road, and Tabatha Atkins Cox, 43, of 287 Glass Road.

Bonnie Neely was charged with nine counts of insurance fraud, 208 counts of obtaining property by false pretense, 223 counts of exploitation of the elderly, two counts of second degree arson and one count of burning certain buildings. Neely was placed in the Surry County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

William Neely was charged with two counts of insurance fraud and two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. He was placed under a $5,000 unsecured bond.

Cox was charged with eight counts of insurance fraud and four counts of obtaining property by false pretense. She was placed under a $5,000 unsecured bond.

SBI Investigator A.D. Key said at least some of the charges relate to a series of mysterious fires set around March of 2017.

One of those fires, which occurred on March 7 at an unoccupied home at 567 Slate Road, was a house owned, at least in part, by Cox.

Key said she is still investigating the case, looking at fires that “go back several years…there are still more fires out there I’m looking at.”

While reluctant to give too many details of the active case, she said at least some of the charges against the three — including some of the exploitation and false pretense charges — were “using someone else’s money, (but) not for the intended purposes.”

Bonnie Neely
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_mug-2-3.jpgBonnie Neely

William Neely
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_mug-3-3.jpgWilliam Neely

Tabatha Cox
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_mug-1-3.jpgTabatha Cox
Case dates to 2017 fires

By John Peters

jpeters@mtairynews.com