An Independence man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to committing arson on a local business.
Randell Eugene Yeager Jr., 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage property by means of arson, which carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison without parole.
Yeager admitted he was hired twice by another business owner in Independence to damage Bobby Jackson’s Trading, a gold-buying business at 302 E. 23rd St. in Independence.
Yeager admitted he was paid $800 on July 17, 2017, to damage the business. Yeager backed a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee into the front of the business, damaging the front door and windows. Independence police later found the vehicle unoccupied and still running with evidence from the damaged building still attached to the vehicle. Damages to the business were later estimated at approximately $10,000.
Yeager also admitted that he was paid another $800 to set fire to the same business on Aug. 4, 2017. Yeager used gasoline to set fire to the front of the store, which caused approximately $5,000 in damage.
When Yeager was arrested on Nov. 24, 2018, police found a semi-automatic handgun and .936 grams of methamphetamine on him.
The case against the person who allegedly hired Yeager, William “Bill” Joseph Reneau, 42, of Overland Park, Kansas, is still pending, as are the cases against another pair of co-defendants, Brian “Chippy” Elledge, 38, and Timothy Blain “Tattoo Head” Tyler, 42.