A man accused of robbing a bank in Lincoln County earlier this week has also been charged with setting his ex-girlfriend’s house on fire in Gaston County days before the alleged robbery, fire officials said.
The Gaston County Police Department has filed a warrant against Jean Pierre Gendron, 49, for arson.
Gaston County Deputy Fire Marshal Allen Middleton told the Times-News Friday afternoon that a neighbor of the victim spotted the home on fire on Monday and called 911.
The witness also reported seeing Gendron leaving the residence, located on Wallaby Road in Cherryville, during the event, Middleton said.
Gendron is additionally accused of stealing his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle and a second vehicle from Tommy’s Drive-In in Gastonia, which he used to drive to Lincoln County Thursday morning and rob a bank, police said.
Video surveillance at People’s Bank on N.C. 27 West in Lincolnton recorded the suspect inside the bank just after 9 a.m.
He issued a bank employee a note that demanded money “and no dye packs” or he would shoot the person, Lincolnton police investigators said, and fled the scene in a 2004 burgundy Nissan Altima with North Carolina license plate ZWK-5667.
Prior to allegedly robbing an undisclosed amount of money from People’s Bank, officers noted Gendron entered Carolina Trust Bank, directly across the street, where he more than likely composed the threatening note.
He did not, however, rob Carolina Trust Bank, police said.
An investigation into the alleged crimes is continuing.
Gendron, whom officers said is “dangerous,” remains at-large and is believed to be in Lincoln or Gaston County.
He may also be headed out-of-state to Boston, Mass., where he is originally from, police said.
Gendron has blue eyes and is bald with minimal blonde hair.
He is also described as 5-foot-7, weighing 150 pounds with multiple tattoos, police said.
Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call Lincolnton-Lincoln County Crimestoppers at (704) 736-8909 or Gaston County Crimestoppers at (704) 861-8000.
Individuals may also contact the Lincolnton Police Department at (704) 736-8900 or the Gaston County Police Department at (704) 866-3320.