Police: Man found dead after 12 vehicles torched was arsonist - KCTV5

Police: Man found dead after 12 vehicles torched believed to be arsonist

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Burned truck in which man died Burned truck in which man died
PLATTE CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Platte City Police are investigating a death and an arson all at once Friday after 12 vehicles were found burned near three locations in Platte City.

Police said there is no longer a threat to the community because they believe the man who died is the arsonist.

Residents who had their cars and trucks burned near Gates Drive and the 1800 block of Wilkerson Street said it was quite the surprise as they were heading off to work.

"Unfortunately it's a 2012 with low miles on it, it had nine miles on it two weeks ago," said Dave Connell, one of the victims of Friday morning's arson.

Now, Connell's truck is in need of major repair inside. His, along with 11 other vehicles within the subdivision, were believed to be intentionally set on fire, police said, between 5:30 and 8 a.m.

"I thought it was lightning because when I opened the door there was a circle about this big and it was just blown out and then as the light came on I could see in the back seat that there was another spot this big right through the seat," Connell said.

"All of the cars have some level of fire damage to the interior passenger compartment of the car and that's the main consistency between all of them," said Erik Holland with the Platte County Sheriff's Office.

Residents said they were concerned not only because of the auto arson, but more so with what police found inside a burnt truck at 2113 Wilkerson St that was reported at 7:04 a.m.

"One of the vehicles located on Catie Lane was a white GMC pickup and there was a body discovered in the driver's seat of the car. That body does not belong to the vehicle,"Holland said.

Police said the man found in the pickup is in his early 20s and they believe he set the fires.

"I am not aware of a weapon or obvious signs of trauma other than smoke inhalation and fire damage," Holland said.

As they continue to ask why, people like Connell said they remain surprised about the destroyed cars and would like some answers along with their vehicles and belongings back.

"I had a coat in the back seat; it melted the jacket up until it was about this big around and that's probably what sucked the oxygen out and put the fire out," Connell said.

Police said overall damage is limited because all of the doors of the vehicles were closed when they were discovered so the fire likely lost its oxygen source and went out.

Police have not yet released the identity of the man found in the burnt truck.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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