Trucker indicted in string of arsons

A Licking man was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City on additional arson charges related to a series of fires set at Missouri truck stops and for illegally possessing a firearm.

Steven Oakley Price, 40, who was an over-the-road commercial truck driver, committed five acts of arson in Kingdom City and one act of arson in Oak Grove.

According to the indictment, Price set a series of fires in Kingdom City on May 11 that damaged four tractor trailers.

He earlier was indicted for allegedly setting a fire on April 28 that damaged one tractor trailer in Kingdom City.

Price is also believed to have set a fire in Oak Grove that damaged a tractor trailer on May 7.

Price is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was allegedly in possession of a Remington .22-caliber boltaction rifle in Texas County on June 24. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Price has two prior felony convictions for theft, as well as felony convictions for arson, burglary and hot check personal services.

In other action Thursday, the grand jury indicted the mayor of Stover, Scott Allen Beckman, 41, on a charge related to violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.

According to the indictment, Richard Sparks, the city’s public works superintendent, added bleach to a drinking water sample that he submitted to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, in order to prevent an accurate laboratory analysis of the sample.

Beckmann knew about Sparks’ criminal activity but concealed it from an agent of the EPA.

Beckmann allegedly lied to a federal law enforcement agent in December 2007, when asked whether he had knowledge of Sparks’ criminal activity. Beckmann falsely denied any knowledge of the activity, the indictment says, although he earlier had admitted at a Board of Alderman meeting that he knew Sparks was adding chlorine to the city water samples.


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