Bates County Sheriff makes arrest in Arson case in Rich Hill

On 5/24/21 at approximately 0600hrs Bates County Deputies were dispatched to the Rich Hill Tire Shop just outside of Rich Hill, Missouri in reference to a large pile of used tires burning. Deputies observed several indications of arson. The burning tires also damaged a 1995 Ford Ranger, a 1992 Dodge Truck, a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche, a 2007 Toyota Highlander, a Suzuki Reno and a 2007 Chrysler 300.

During the Bates County Sheriff’s investigation several leads were followed up on. A potential suspect was identified and subsequently arrested at his home in Foster Missouri. William E Swarnes (aka Goob) 9/10/1986 was arrested on 5/27/2021 and was charged with Knowingly Burning. His bond was set at $50,000 cash only.

During the arson investigation, Bates County Detectives were contacted by Belton Police Department in reference to a stolen trailer. Mr. Swarnes and an unnamed female were suspects in the theft of the trailer. While making the arrest Bates County Detectives observed two trailers located on the property. One of the trailers matched the description of the stolen trailer out of Belton, Missouri. After checking the VIN on the trailer, it was obvious that a new VIN had been placed on the trailer. An occupant of the house produced a title that matched the “new” VIN, but the title had been obviously altered also. The trailer’s real VIN was located and confirmed stolen from Belton.

While deputies were working to locate the VIN on the stolen trailer, they observed a silver enclosed trailer that had an obvious altered VIN also. A check of the hidden VIN number on the enclosed trailer showed that it was also stolen out of Springfield, Missouri. Both Trailers were recovered and are in the process of being returned to the rightful owners. Charges involving the stolen property have been submitted and are being reviewed for prosecution.

Mr. Swarnes has a history with having stolen trailers on his property. Back on 3/10/21 Bates County Deputies received information about a possible stolen enclosed trailer from Springfield being at Swarnes’ residence. Deputies responded and recovered an enclosed stolen trailer. Charges in this case were submitted to the Bates County prosecutor for prosecution.

Both the arson and the stolen equipment are still being investigated and additional charges are expected to be filed on Mr. Swarnes and additional people. Mr. Swarnes is being held in the Bates County Jail on the Arson case.

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