The man charged with stealing a Jeep with a baby inside on Nov. 14 from a gas station in Imperial is the same man suspected of blowing up a house July 6 near his own home on Palatine Court in Fenton.
Ryan Beckler, 21, of the 2200 block of Palatine Court, has been charged in Jefferson County with stealing a motor vehicle, kidnapping-facilitating a felony and endangering the welfare of a child.
There also are several charges pending in the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's office in connection with a house explosion July 6 in Fenton. Charges, including arson in the first degree, arson in the second degree, destruction of property and resisting arrest by flight, were applied for on July 24, the date Beckler was released from Mercy Medical Center where he had been treated for burns.
When Beckler was released from the hospital, St. Louis County Police Department intake personnel declined to accept Beckler into county jail due to his medical status. Instead, He was released to his mother, according to St. Louis County Police Media Relations Officer Randy Vaughn.
Firefighters from the Fenton Fire Protection District and several other departments sorted through the wreckage of a vacant home on Palatine Court that exploded around 5 a.m. on the morning of July 6. The street is north of Highway 141 and west of Bowles Avenue.
"It woke up the whole neighborhood," said Bob Regan, an across-the-street neighbor.
Others in the neighborhood said someone was trying to steal a gas dryer from the basement of the home and had cut the gas line in order to move it.
At the time of the Palatine Court house explosion, police had no suspects in the incident, although one person was known to have been injured in the blaze and was transported to Mercy Medical Center. That man turned out to be Beckler.
Beckler has a history of trouble with the law. According to court documents Beckler pleaded guilty on Nov. 10, 2011 to two counts of felony theft (more than $500), one count of misdemeanor theft (less than $500), and possession of a controlled substance.
He was sentenced to four years in prison for each felony theft and the drug possession charge, and 120 days in jail for the misdemeanor theft. He was to serve the 120-day shock jail time and was placed on probation for four years. Conditions of probation included continuing drug treatment and maintaining a fulltime job or attending school.
Patch will stay on the story and will report when, and if, Beckler is formally charged with involvement in the Palatine Court house explosion.