OTTUMWA — Authorities have apprehended a St. Louis man they say was involved in a spree of theft and arson in Missouri and Iowa.
Benjamin Franklin Felter, 37, of St. Louis, Missouri, faces charges of second-degree arson, first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and three counts of unauthorized use of a credit card.
The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office filed for a warrant on June 16. Felter was arrested in Missouri and extradited to Wapello County on July 2. The charges, according to court filings, come from a multi-jurisdictional investigation.
Law enforcement say that Felter stole a 2004 Ford Econoline E150 from Kirksville, Missouri, and a 2012 Subaru Outback from Unionville, Missouri. He operated both vehicles in Wapello County, according to court filings.
The Subaru was reported stolen by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office on April 23. Police say in court filings that the vehicle was taken from a residence that caught fire and was a total loss. Putnam County Sheriff Jason Knight said Thursday that investigators believe that residential fire was arson, but that it remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.
The Subaru was later found in Wapello County in a field on fire on May 19. The vehicle was stolen after Felter had wrecked another stolen vehicle in Unionville, Missouri, and then stole the Subaru and drove it to Wapello County, according to court filings. Authorities believe he set the car on fire.
On April 22, the Econoline was reported stolen from Kirksville, Missouri. Police say Felter drove the vehicle to Wapello County and used a credit card that was located inside the vehicle at the Walmart in Ottumwa.
According to court filings, Felter was identified in security camera footage at Walmart and Walgreen’s in Ottumwa.