The Herald-Mail - October 10, 2010
An attorney who is charged with setting a fire at the Martinsburg law firm where she worked in September 2007, and then attempting to set another fire there in April 2008, was among more than 60 people indicted by a Berkeley County grand jury this week. Ashley R. Shreve, 29, of 384 Bethlehem Road, Oakland, Md., was indicted on one count of second-degree arson, one count of attempted arson and two counts of conveying a false bomb threat.
Lawyer arrested in arson
MARTINSBURG, WV - A former Martinsburg attorney was arrested in Virginia Wednesday afternoon by officers in Henrico County, Va., in connection to a series of arsons and bomb threats that occurred in Martinsburg in 2007 and 2008, police said Thursday. Ashley R. Shreve, 28, currently an attorney in Richmond, was arrested without incident in Richmond after Berkeley County Sheriff's Department investigators obtained warrants for Shreve's arrest and coordinated her arrest with investigators in Henrico County. Lt. B.F. Hall, of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department's Criminal Investigations Division, obtained warrants charging Shreve with one count of second-degree arson, attempted arson and terroristic threats. Shreve previously lived in the Spring Mills area. "We're not really going to go into motive. We're not going to release that information right now," Hall said. The arrest brings a conclusion to a nearly three-year investigation, which began in September 2007 after a suspected arson occurred at the law firm of McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Vernor at 275 Aikens Center in Martinsburg. Investigators learned that the fire intentionally was set to a box of files in an office belonging to one of the firm's legal assistants. Shreve was employed as an attorney at the law office, police said, but it wasn't until later in the investigation that she became a suspect.
The law firm, as well as other nearby businesses, received bomb threats over the course of the next several months. Investigators with the Sheriff's Department also received two letters in the mail taunting them for not making an arrest in the arson. Investigators were able to recover evidence from the original arson and from the subsequent bomb threats. In April 2008, investigators were again called to the law firm for a reported attempted arson. Hall and then Chief Deputy Kenneth "Kenny" Lemaster Jr., who now is Berkeley County's sheriff, responded to the law firm and conducted the investigation. "At the beginning of it we didn't know it, was actually internal. It took a little bit of investigation to determine that it was possibly internal," Lemaster said. Hall later was notified by the West Virginia State Police forensic lab that a DNA sample had been obtained from an envelope used to send a bomb threat. After Hall learned that Shreve had moved to the Richmond area after the April 2008 attempted arson, he contacted Henrico County investigators and received assistance in obtaining a search warrant for Shreve's DNA. The DNA obtained from Shreve was sent to the West Virginia State Police forensic lab to compare to evidence from the bomb threat envelope. Hall was notified in December that the DNA samples were a match. Shreve is currently being held in the Henrico County jail while awaiting extradition back to Berkeley County. She is expected to be returned to West Virginia early next week. "We're glad that we could bring closure to the victims in this case, the victims being the lawyers and the clerks out at the law firm," Hall said. "They were basically terrorized for a year or more." Staff writer Edward Marshall can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 182, or firstname.lastname@example.org