Arrests in West Union arsons

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Arrests in West Union arsons

By Mike Van Sickle
Union editor

Two arrests have been made in a series of arson-related incidents in West Union. 

Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher reported Monday that Ryan Jones of West Union and Shawn Kraft, formerly of West Union, face various charges ranging from reckless use of fire to arson in the second degree.

Chief Deputy James Davis later reported that the two men have been charged with arson in the second degree for the scale fire at Farmers Union Cooperative, located just north of the fairgrounds in West Union on Saturday, April 20. Davis said that the two suspects admit to being in the scale house and reporting the fire to authorities.

Davis further explained that the alleged arsonists acknowledged that they had planned to call in a fire on Saturday, April 20, when the West Union Fire Department was called to the beef barn fire at the Fayette County Fairgrounds.

According to court documents, Jones and Kraft were initially watching the beef barn fire before allegedly entering the scale house and using paper to start a fire on a shelf. The two men then allegedly exited the building and reported smoke coming from the building to three different officials. Both men accuse the other of starting the fire.

In addition to the fire calls at the Fayette County Fairgrounds and Farmers Union Cooperative, West Union firemen joined other emergency personnel in being dispatched to a pair of false reports on April 20.

The West Union Police Department quickly identified the caller to be Jones. He was arrested and charged with two counts of misuse of 911 and one count of harassment of public officers and employees. The 28-year-old was also charged with fifth-degree theft on an unrelated incident, which resulted from the investigation. 

Court documents state that when Jones was arrested tissue paper and matches were discovered in his back pocket.

On Monday, Fisher also reported both men face one charge of arson in the second degree after admitting to starting a dumpster on fire at the All-Stop convenience store in November 2012. 

The duo also face a charge of conspiracy to commit arson in the second degree after admitting to trying to start a second dumpster in fire in March 2013. According to court documents, they placed a 911 call to report “a strong gas smell” after they failed to ignite the dumpster. 

In addition, each man faces two counts of reckless use of fire stemming from a pair of pranks involving paper bags filled with dog feces, which were then lit on fire and placed on the doorsteps of residences.

The West Union Police Department assisted in the investigation.

Anyone with information to these or similar incidences is encouraged to call the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at (563) 422-3234 or West Union Police Department at (563) 422-3535. Additional charges could be filed against the two men at a later date.

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