MARLBORO COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A Bennettsville man has been arrested and charged in connection to a series of arsons in the Bennettsville area, according to a news release from the Marlboro County Sheriff's Office.
Brian Christopher Ralko, age 36, of Smythe Street, is charged with five counts of third degree arson, damage to property and breaking into a motor vehicle, the release states.
Ralko is charged in connection to a fire on Brown Street that occurred on August 4, James Street on August 15 and Brown Street again on September 18.
An abandoned home was burned completely to the ground in the Brown Street fire in August.
During the September fire on Brown Street, an 18 wheeler trailer was broken into and set on fire.
An abandoned home was set on fire and received minimal damage in the September 15 fire on James Street.
Ralko is also charged with fires at two storage buildings in November of 2013 and fire damage to a nearby home.
"This defendant is facing a lot of serious charges and hopefully the residents and property owners in these areas can rest easier now knowing he has been arrested," Sheriff Fred Knight said.
Investigators with the MCSO looked at other unsolved arsons in the area and Ralko's residence was found to be very close to these locations.
SLED Arson Agents also helped them interview numerous witnesses and obtain phone records and surveillance video to identify Ralko as a suspect, the release states.
When Ralko was confronted with the evidence, he cooperated with investigators.
According to the release, Ralko has no criminal history but he does have some history of activities that also made investigators suspicious.
If you have any information about this case or any other case, you are encouraged to call the MCSO at (843)-479-5606.