For Immediate Release
Independence Business Owner Charged with Arson of Rival Business, Residence
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence, Mo., business owner was charged in federal court today with participating in a conspiracy to commit arson against a rival business as well as a residence.
William “Bill” Joseph Reneau, 41, of Overland Park, Kansas, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. Reneau is the owner of Gold Rush Exchange, which has locations on 40 Highway and 24 Highway in Independence.
Today’s federal criminal complaint charges Reneau with one count of conspiracy to commit arson. The complaint alleges that Reneau participated in a conspiracy to destroy an Independence residence and a business, Bobby Jackson’s Trading, a gold-buying business operated by a former employee of Reneau’s at 302 E. 23rd Street in Independence.
According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s federal criminal complaint, Reneau hired others to damage Bobby Jackson’s Trading in July and August of 2017, then to burn the business as well as a residence owned by his wife’s ex-husband in August 2018.
Reneau allegedly paid R.Y. $800 to damage the Bobby Jackson’s Trading building, the affidavit says. On July 17, 2017, the affidavit says, R.Y. drove a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee into the front of the business, backing into the building and colliding with the front door and the front business windows. The stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee was located later by the Independence Police Department, unoccupied and still running with evidence from the damaged building still attached to the vehicle. The damage was approximately $10,000.
On Aug. 4, 2017, the affidavit says, R.Y. set fire to Bobby Jackson’s Trading. During the investigation, investigators located what appeared to be containers that were used to bring gasoline to the business and set the fire near the front doors and windows. The fire caused approximately $5,000 dollars in damage to the exterior and interior of the business. Reneau allegedly paid R.Y. $800 for setting the fire.
Reneau allegedly also paid $500 to another person, T.T., to have the Independence residence, which was unoccupied, burned down. He obtained details of the residence online and provided that information for the person doing the arson.
On Aug. 13, 2018, police officers responded to the house fire. Investigators determined the fire originated on the exterior of the home on the back deck. An outdoor rug was located within the area of origin that was partially burned and had an odor consistent with that of gasoline. A melted red plastic gasoline container was also observed next to the rug.
A set of keys and a key fob for a Pontiac G6 were located on the ground at the foot of the steps leading up to the rear deck. During the fire scene investigation, a neighbor contacted investigators and advised them that a suspicious vehicle (Pontiac G6) had been left at the intersection of Truman and Ranson Street. The reporting neighbor had observed an unknown male rummaging through the Pontiac G6, immediately after the fire was observed at the residence behind the reporting neighbor. When the unknown male heard the sirens from emergency vehicles, he walked away from the vehicle. The key recovered from the fire scene was able to unlock the abandoned vehicle.
Inside the vehicle, officers found a Missouri temporary driver’s license for T.T., who later told investigators that he intentionally set the fire at the residence. T.T. admitted to burning his legs and sections of his arm in the process of setting the fire and to losing his keys to his vehicle, which he identified as a Pontiac G6 that he had parked a street over from the target residence.
T.T. told investigators that B.E., the store manager at Gold Rush Exchange, to whom he sold stolen gold jewelry, had hired him to commit the residential arson. T.T. indicated he only agreed to set the fire because B.E. threatened to turn him into the police since he held onto all of the stolen gold T.T. had previously sold to him. T.T. told investigators that he began recording his conversations with B.E. using a digital recorder.
T.T. told investigators that B.E. also hired him to torch Bobby Jackson’s Trading Company. T.T. said he poured one jug of gasoline on the ground outside of the business and he threw another jug of gasoline onto the roof. T.T. told investigators that he got spooked and decided not to light the fire.
Independence detectives conducted a controlled sale of purportedly stolen jewelry between T.T. and B.E. on Aug. 24, 2018, in the parking lot of Gold Rush Exchange. B.E. was arrested when he left the business.
The charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Independence, Mo., Police Department.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at