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Lumpkin man charged in arson at pharmacy

POSTED: April 6, 2009 11:06 p.m.

Lumpkin County Sheriff’s officials have taken out an arrest warrant for a man they say is responsible for an arson at the Dahlonega Rite Aid last month.

They say 42-year-old Lumpkin County resident Hubert J. Smith is responsible for the fire that gutted the inside of the corporate pharmacy on March 2.

Smith has been charged with first-degree arson, according to Lumpkin County investigator Darren Martin.

Smith currently is in the Dawson County jail facing unrelated charges.

Dawson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Wooten confirmed that Lumpkin County authorities had placed a detainer on Smith.

After the March 2 fire, Martin said a security camera video from the store showed a white male in a white T-shirt and baseball cap setting the fire near a chemical section in the store.

Lumpkin Sheriff’s officials targeted Smith after witnesses said they saw a black Dodge Durango leaving the Rite Aid around the time of the fire last March.

While contacting the owners of all the black Dodge Durangos inside Lumpkin County, investigators found an acquaintance of Smith who confirmed she drove him to the Rite Aid the day of the fire.

The acquaintance was not aware that Smith had set the fire on March 2 until after the fact, Martin said.

Smith was arrested three days after the fire in Dawson County where he remains in jail. Smith was wearing the baseball cap and white T-shirt when he was arrested in Dawson County, Martin said.

The store reopened on Monday, after spending several weeks operating out of a temporary pharmacy in the store’s parking lot.



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