WHITEVILLE, N.C. -- A Columbus County man is behind bars after investigators say he burned his house down for insurance money.
- Gebriel Jermaine Shipman has been arrested for setting his house on fire and trying to collect insurance money on it.
- Shipman was behind in mortgage payments.
- Investigators found Shipman had removed his belongings before the fire was set.
On April 12, 2018 at approximately 6:30 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a dwelling at 166 Johnny George Lane in reference to a structure fire.
Shipman reported that he came home from work to find that the interior of the residence had been burned.
Authorities report that discrepancies during the investigation led to Shipman being considered a person of interest.
Shipman obtained an insurance policy in the month prior to the incident, and filed a report with the company the day of the fire, despite having told investigators he had no insurance.
Shipman was also behind in his mortgage payments.
In March 2018 a representative from the mortgage company met with Shipman at the residence concerning the late payments. At this time it was noted that the house was fully furnished.
At the time of the fire the home was minimally furnished, leading investigators to conclude that items were removed prior the fire.
Investigators now believe that on the night of April 11, Shipman removed his belongings from the house before setting the fire and leaving for work, calling 911 when he returned the next morning.
Shipman has been arrested and charged with felony insurance fraud, felony attempting to obtain property by false pretenses and felony fraudulently burning a dwelling.