Woman facing attempted arson charges in incident at Smithfield Foods in Bladen County

BLADEN COUNTY (WWAY)– A Lumberton woman is facing several charges stemming from an incident at the Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel.

According to the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Latasha Rena Bittle, 26, allegedly threw a plastic jug with accelerants onto a break area canopy on October 12.

Bittle was identified as a potential suspect after she sent an email to Smithfield corporate officials on the morning of this incident. She was reportedly disgruntled about an incident that happened while she was employed at Smithfield. During the incident, Bittle was heard stating that she would “burn the plant down and shoot it up”.

An eyewitness to the incident was able to identify Bittle as the person who threw the jug onto the canopy, before taking off in a burgundy-colored sedan.

On the night of October 13, the windows of five vehicles in the Smithfield Foods management parking lot were broken out by a female with a hammer. The suspect car matched the description of the car in the attempted arson from the day before.

Investigators with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office learned that Bittle had turned herself into the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office on outstanding charges not related to the Smithfield crimes. They went to Columbus County to interview Bittle, where she confessed to the attempted arson and vandalism to the cars.

She is charged with Second Degree Trespass, Damage to Occupied Property with Explosive, and five counts of Injury to Personal Property. Bittle is in the Bladen County Detention Center under a $4,000 secured bond.

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