Sheriff Lance Humphreys says Loftis confessed to starting the March 1 fire and agreed to pay Flemon for his help.
According to the sheriff, Loftis was a vendor at the mall and wanted to cash in on an insurance policy that covered his inventory.
By David Howell
OAKLAND – An Oxford man who had rented multiple booths in an antique mall in Oakland that burned March 1 has been charged with second degree arson.
Yalobusha County Sheriff Lance Humphreys reported that Larry Loftis, 62, was charged Tuesday afternoon following an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the state fire marshal’s office, Yalobusha Arson Investigator Frank Hyde and the sheriff’s department.
The fire gutted the antique mall located at the intersection of Hwy. 32 and I-55 in the early morning hours on March 1. It housed more than 50 vendors from all around the area.
“The ATF received information prompting them to pick up Loftis for questioning,” Humphreys explained. Federal agents picked him up in Batesville Tuesday morning and transported him to the sheriff’s department.
Humphreys formally charged him later Tuesday, following an interview.
“Loftis had numerous antique pieces in the mall that were insured,” Hum-phreys added.
Loftis remained in the Yalobusha County Jail following the arrest and awaited an initial appearance at presstime.
Humphreys said another arrest could be imminent in the case.