A 20-year-old man from Baxter Springs, Kansas, waived a preliminary hearing this week on charges stemming from a brief theft and arson spree the night of April 24-25 in Joplin.
Bridger A. Skye waived the hearing Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court on felony counts of arson, burglary, stealing, property damage and knowingly burning or exploding. Associate Judge Joe Hensley set Skye's initial appearance in a trial division of the court on Dec. 2.
The spree began about 10 p.m. on April 24 with the setting on fire of a Ford Focus in the 800 block of South Vermont Avenue. A witness at the scene identified Skye as the culprit, and police were looking for him when they began receiving reports of thefts from vehicles taking place nearby in the 1100 block of East Seventh Street.
Officers swarmed the area but did not spot Skye and arrest him until shortly before 2 a.m. on April 25. Some of the items taken in the vehicle break-ins — credit cards, a driver's license, an iPhone and a pair of pearl and diamond earrings — purportedly were found in his possession when he was taken into custody, along with a cooler and drinks that police subsequently determined had been taken in a break-in at the offices of the TelePerformance call center in the Joplin Plaza at 1117 E. Seventh St.
During the course of his arrest, officers heard a fire alarm sounding in the strip mall and firefighters were called to the scene to put out a fire inside the call center that had triggered the building's fire suppression sprinkler system. Firefighters found three places where fires had been set prior to being put out by the sprinklers. The fire destroyed several computers and monitors belonging to the business, with property damage initially estimated at $50,000.