A Pacific man was charged with arson Monday for allegedly setting a fire in a bedroom at his parents’ home.
A Franklin County felony complaint charges Vincent J. Stockell, 29, with first-degree arson for allegedly starting a fire Sunday, Aug. 12, at the home in the 5000 block of Highway O, south of Pacific. He is being held in the Franklin County Jail on a $30,000 cash-only bond.
According to the probable cause statement filed by Franklin County Arson Investigator Jim Schuhmacher, Stockell admitted to setting on fire “combustible” bed linens and clothing on his mattress and box spring in the second floor bedroom.
The suspect’s mother and father were at the home, authorities said.
The Pacific Fire Protection District responded to a first-alarm blaze after the property owners were alerted by smoke detectors. Stockell’s father, William Stockell, located a small fire on the bed in the room where his son was staying.
William Stockell extinguished the fire after calling the fire department.
A preliminary investigation by Pacific Fire revealed that the fire began on top of a mattress and box spring, that were on the bedroom floor. Atop the mattress was bedding, including sheets and a quilt, and other clothing that had been ignited by an undetermined source.
Investigators located a plastic container of lighter fluid wrapped in the bedding. All accidental ignition sources were eliminated during the investigation, according to the probable cause statement.
Heat from the fire caused damage to interior ceiling panels, authorities said.
William Stockell saw his son, Vincent Stockell, walking out of an exterior gate near the rear of the home minutes before the smoke detectors had been activated, Schuhmacher said.
A Franklin County deputy detained Vincent Stockell, who was seen walking on Highway F near the Meramec River bridge.
During questioning, Vincent Stockell admitted to setting fire to the bed linens.
Vincent Stockell was charged in February with two counts of second-degree burglary for allegedly smashing the front window of two Dollar General stores to steal cigarettes and beer.
Stockell was released July 24 from the Franklin County Jail on his own recognizance by Presiding Circuit Judge Ike Lamke. An arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 28.
According to the probable cause statement filed in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, Stockell was seen on surveillance camera video throwing a brick to smash through the front door at the Dollar General stores in Villa Ridge and Robertsville.
Franklin County deputies responded to an alarm sounding about 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Villa Ridge store where Stockell allegedly broke in and took six packs of cigarettes and two 12-packs of Bud Light beer. The store is located at 177 Highway AT.
About two hours later, deputies responded to another alarm at the Dollar General store in Robertsville, located at 7372 Highway O. Stockell allegedly took two packs of cigarettes from the second store.
The deputies reviewed the surveillance footage and saw a white male, wearing a black or dark-colored jacket and shirt, blue jeans and black or dark-colored shoes enter both stores and steal merchandise.
A witness provided information to deputies that led them to a home where Stockell was located. He admitted to breaking into the businesses because he wanted cigarettes and beer, according to the probable cause statement.
Stolen property from the stores was located at the suspect’s home.
Stockell was charged in 2012 in Franklin County Associate Circuit Court with one count each of second-degree burglary and stealing of firearms.