A St. Clair man was sentenced to five years in prison for setting fire to a home he had broken into and stole weapons and hunting gear.
Nathan H. Straatmann, 24, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Sept. 24, to felonies for second-degree burglary and second-degree arson. Under a plea deal, he was sentenced to five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Both sentences will run concurrent, according to court records.
The charges stem from the April 8 burglary of a home in the 600 block of Post Bluff Road, northeast of Union. He was charged May 20.
The probable cause statement filed in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office by the sheriff’s office states that inside of the home there was significant fire damage. Gasoline and a can of lighter fluid were located in the home during the investigation.
In May, the sheriff’s office said a firearm, a compound bow and several miscellaneous hunting items were stolen from the home, including a pair of Rocky camouflage boots.
A neighbor said he saw a man walking near his property wearing Rocky brand camouflage boots, authorities said. The witness later identified Straatmann in the photo lineup.
An investigator located several hunting items at a Riverview Trailer Park residence where Straatmann had been living. The home is within walking distance of the Post Bluff Road cabin.
A second witness staying in Riverview Trailer Park told investigators that Straatmann had stated that there was “trouble” at the cabin where he had taken items from, according to the probable cause statement.
The woman said Straatmann had burned something at the cabin.
According to the sheriff’s office, Straatmann later admitted to detectives that he had broken into the cabin and set it on fire.
He allegedly confessed to planning the burglary — in which he kicked the door in at the cabin.
Straatmann told the sheriff’s office that he was dragging out a tent that he intended to steal and the tent knocked over a gas can that was kept inside the home near the front door.
Straatmann claims he was lighting a cigarette while dragging the tent and he dropped his Zippo lighter while it was lit. The lighter landed on the gasoline that was coming out of the gas can and caused the entire house to catch fire, the probable cause statement says.
Straatmann said he left all the items he was taking and ran away from the cabin.
Franklin County Arson Investigator Jim Schuh-
macher assisted with the investigation, the sheriff’s office said.