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Probe in house fire continues
One arson suspect posts bond, released
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Forsyth County News
One of two people charged in connection with the fiery destruction of a northeastern Forsyth County home last month is out of jail.

Steve Edward Strobel, 46, was released Saturday from the Forsyth County Detention Center after posting $27,610 bail, a jail spokesman said.

The Barrow County resident was arrested Feb. 3 and charged with obstruction of justice and providing a false statement in connection with the blaze that destroyed the Lanier Drive home of his girlfriend, Pamela Morrow Graf.

Both Graf and Strobel were charged days later with first-degree arson. Authorities say the couple burned the house down and tried to make it look like a hate crime.

The pair also face drug charges. Graf, 47, remains in custody on $30,371 bond.

Forsyth County Fire Marshal Steve Anderson said investigators continue to gather evidence in the case.

He said Monday they had obtained additional search warrants, but did not say where they were looking or for what.

Anderson said investigators are evaluating documentation, including Graf’s financial statements and phone records, as part of the probe.

He has said he thinks the Jan. 18 fire was financially motivated, specifically for insurance money.

“We’re still actively investigating,” Anderson said. “Additional charges could be forthcoming.”

He said authorities have searched a storage unit rented in Strobel’s name in Winder, but declined to comment on the findings.

In addition to the blaze, someone spray-painted graffiti that included a racial slur and the phrase “your black boy will die” on a fence that borders Graf’s property.

No one has been charged for the graffiti, though Anderson has said he thinks the writing and the fire are connected.

Graf claimed she and Strobel left Jan. 16 for the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. They cut short the trip, during which they reportedly camped in a van, after learning about the fire.

“We are still trying to verify they were in Washington, D.C.,” Anderson said.

Graf also has said she was targeted because of her support for President Barack Obama. She told investigators she received a threatening note in her mailbox a couple weeks before the blaze.

She said the message, written on a piece of notebook paper, included a racial slur and the phrase “watch your back.” She never reported it to authorities, though she said she did remove an Obama campaign sign from her yard as a result of the note.

Graf was initially charged Feb. 3 with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, cocaine with intent to distribute and Schedule 3 and Schedule 4 narcotics.

The drug charges came after Forsyth County fire investigators searched her vehicle and hotel room.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and State Farm insurance investigators have also participated in the fire probe.

E-mail Julie Arrington at