Independence business owner charged for hiring people to set rival business on fire

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William "Bill" Reneau

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Independence business owner is now facing federal charges after allegedly hiring two people to set a rival business and home on fire.

William “Bill” Reneau was charged Wednesday with one count of conspiracy to commit arson. The Overland Park man owns Gold Rush Exchange, which has two locations on 40 Highway and 24 Highway in Independence.

Court documents say Reneau was part of a conspiracy to destroy an Independence home and business, Bobby Jackson’s Trading, which is owned by own of Reneau’s former employees in Independence.

Prosecutors say the 41-year-old hired others to damage Bobby Jackson’s Trading in July 2017. He paid one person $800, who then drove a stolen Jeep into the front of the business. It caused about $10,000 in damage.

He then once again paid that person $800 to set fire to the building in August 2017. The fire caused $5,000 in damage.

In August 2018, court documents say Reneau once again paid another person $500 to burn down an Independence home owned by his wife’s ex-husband in August 2018.

When police took the person who set fire to the Independence home into custody, the man told investigators that Reneau had hired him to do so. The man said he had previously sold stolen gold jewelry to Reneau, and Reneau allegedly threatened to turn him into the police if he didn’t do it.

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