A 21-year-old man from Columbia, South Carolina, has been arrested in connection with a fire that affected two rental properties owned by Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.
Frank John Wilberding moved back to South Carolina earlier this year after temporarily relocating to Los Angeles with the hope of launching a hip-hop career under the stage name “Dank Frank,” according to a Wednesday story from the Charleston Post & Courier.
The fire that Wilberding has been charged in connection with occurred early Tuesday morning near Columbia’s popular Five Points area. The blaze, which affected two residences, displaced at least 12 people and caused “hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage,” according to the Columbia Fire Department.
Wilberding is expected to face a bond hearing on Thursday for two counts of arson and one drug possession charge. Local authorities have not yet released a motive, though they do not believe that the buildings were targeted because McMaster owns them.
But Wilberding’s father says that he doesn’t really understand why he’s been charged and that the incident couldn’t possibly have been politically-motivated because he couldn’t name the state’s governor “even if I paid him $1 million,” the Post & Courier reported.
“He says he does not understand what’s going on,” Ed Wilberding also told the Charleston newspaper after a conversation with Frank after his arrest Tuesday. “I think he’s in some sort of shock.”
The investigation was aided in large part due to a surveillance photo that was widely circulated after the incident, the Columbia Police Department said.
“Anytime we have video, it makes our jobs so much easier,” reads a statement from Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook. “This particular video not only gave us an insight as to how the fire potentially started, it also gave us a very clear shot of the person responsible for setting the fire.”
SoundCloud account, which bears his stage name, boasts 27 tracks under names like The 843 Boyz (in reference to his hometown’s area code) “White Champagne,” “Codeine & Cocaine,” and “I Be Sellin Weed.”
Here’s a sample: