York County Sheriff’s Office announces arrests made in 9-year-old arson case

2 arrested in York Co. arson cold case

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - York County Sheriff’s Detectives, with the assistance of other local and state law enforcement agencies, have arrested a man and a woman for crimes that occurred in 2009 involing a martial arts studio that has been set on fire.

Robert Allen Lester Jr., 26, and Catherine Paige Neal, 24, have been charged with 2nd degree arson, 2nd degree burglary, and criminal conspiracy for their connection to a fire that had been started at the Pak’s Martial Arts Center.

Neal (L) & Lester (R)
Neal (L) & Lester (R) (Source: Dlugosz, Brian)

The investigation into the event had been technically closed in 2011 due to a lack of information or leads but was reopened again in May 2018 after detectives received a tip. The ensuing investigation that was re-opened eventually led the police to narrow down two individuals as persons of interest in the case and to their arrest on Nov. 27, 2018.

Lester and Neal were booked into the York County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

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