POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Shelby L. Nowell, 25, of Poplarville was arrested and charged with 4 counts of Arson and 1 count of Commercial Burglary after police received reports of several businesses and properties set on fire on April 24 just after 10 p.m.
Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby said dispatch directed officers to a local barbershop on Main Street after citizens and passerby's reported flames coming from behind the shop. Chief Raby said the onlookers attempted to put most of the flames out, but the fire department was in route to the scene.
Chief Raby said an hour after the barbershop incident, dispatch again received reports of a tattoo shop off Highway 26 East being set on fire. Police say garbage cans were also set on fire at the tattoo shop. Both fires were quickly put out.
The barbershop, tattoo shop, and garbage cans received minimal damage, according to Chief Raby. He said after police responded to the locations of the fire, they observed a window had been broken at the tobacco shop next door to the tattoo shop. The chief says police were able to get an identity of the suspect from surveillance video from the tobacco shop. Chief Raby says the suspect attempted to break into the shop but was unsuccessful.
Chief Raby says police officers were patrolling the area when they saw a female that may have been the suspect. After further investigation, they discovered the woman was not the suspect. However, according to Chief Raby, officers discovered another fire in a residence's garage. Cardboard boxes had been stacked and set on fire. Chief Raby says the suspect was at the residence and taken into police custody. Nowell was charged with 3 counts of Arson and Commercial Burglary. Chief Raby says the following morning officers discovered Nowell had also attempted to set a county truck outside of the courthouse on fire but was unsuccessful. Another Arson charge was added.
Chief Baby said, "Officers had a good response time, and I would like to thank our citizens for their quick thinking in extinguishing the fires, and the Poplarville Fire Department."
Chief Raby says it is possible that Nowell was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incidents. No motive has been given.
She is charged with 4 counts of Arson and 1 count of Commercial Burglary. Her bond was set at $40,000. She is currently at the Pearl River County Jail.