Independence businessman accused of paying men to set fire to rival store

Marc LaVoie
August 30, 2018 - 7:13 am

An Overland Park man who owns two stores in Independence is charged in federal court with taking part in a conspiracy to commit arson against a rival business and another man's home.

William Reneau, 41, owns two Gold Rush Exchange locations in Independence. A federal complaint charges Reneau with one count of conspiracy to commit arson.

Federal prosecutors allege Reneau paid a man $800 in July, 2017 to drive a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee into Bobby Jackson's Trading, a business owned by a former employee of Reneau's. The incident caused an estimated $10,000 in damage.

The same man was paid an additional $800 in August, 2017 to set fire to Bobby Jackson's Trading, prosecutors say. Damage from that incident was estimated at $5,000.

In another incident a Gold Rush Exchange store manager is accused of hiring another man to set fire to the home of Reneau's wife's ex-husband for $500. The attempt on August 13, 2018 caused only minor damage to the property. Investigators found a key fob that led them to a Pontiac parked nearby. 

The owner of the Pontiac later told investigators the store manager blackmailed him into committing the residential arson by threatening to turn him in for selling stolen gold at one of Reneau's stores. The man had burns to his legs and arm from the arson. 

The man told investigators the store manager also hired him to torch Bobby Jackson's Trading Company, but after pouring gasoline outside the business and on the roof, he got nervous and decided not to go through with it.

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