Suspected serial arsonist targeting Kansas City businesses charg - KCTV5

Suspected serial arsonist targeting Kansas City businesses charged

Posted: Updated:
In the dark early morning hours near 59th and Troost, prosecutors say Watson torched business owners' dumpsters. (Emily Rittman/KCTV5) In the dark early morning hours near 59th and Troost, prosecutors say Watson torched business owners' dumpsters. (Emily Rittman/KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Court records show an undercover sting stopped a suspected serial arsonist who was targeting Kansas City businesses.

Donald Watson, Jr. was charged Monday in connection to the dangerous fires.

In the dark early morning hours near 59th and Troost, prosecutors say Watson torched business owners' dumpsters.

At the Ride Away Credit car lot they also discovered car after car on fire.

Ride Away Credit owner Rich Coulson thought he was dealing with vandalism when someone set one of his cars on fire on May 24. However, he later saw the scope of the crime when more vehicles burned. 

"Then when it happens again and again, you realize the severity of it," Coulson said. 

Two more cars were scorched on May 30 and a third car was damaged by the flames. The next day someone set two additional car fires in the same lot.

"One of them he tried to burn two or three times," Coulson said. 

The arsonist kept coming back setting two cars on fire on June 6th and another vehicle on June 12. Court documents show undercover detectives devised a plan to catch the suspect in the act.

"Ended up being really lucky," Coulson said. "He showed up and they got him dead to rights."

Police say Watson Jr. confessed to originally setting cars on fire by igniting the seats. Then he began stuffing lit rags into gas tanks hoping to "blow the vehicles up." 

Coulson says he can't thank police enough for making an arrest. 

"Now we can sleep a little bit better," he said. "I don't have to worry about coming in and finding another car that's been vandalized or burned," 

According to court records while arresting Watson, an officer spotted a rag on fire, stuffed into the gas line of an SUV. The detective was able to pull it away before it ignited the vehicle. 

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.