On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, ROBERT E. GRANT, d/o/b 8-25-1979, of Cedarcreek, Missouri, pleaded guilty to the class C felonies of burglary in the second degree and tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree, for breaking into the Cedarcreek Fire Station on December 21, 2016, driving a fire truck through the bay door, and burning the fire truck. Circuit Court Judge Tony Williams sentenced Grant to thirteen (13) years in prison on each of the two (2) counts, and ordered Grant to pay restitution of over $18,000.00, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. Grant was denied probation and his sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
In the early morning hours of December 21, 2016, Grant and another male drove to the Cedarcreek Fire Station on M Highway, where they forced entry into the building. The men stole several items from inside the fire station before driving one of the fire trucks through the fire engine bay’s retractable door. When the men crashed the truck through the door, the station’s walls were damaged and the door was destroyed. Later that morning, the fire truck was found abandoned and ablaze in a creek bed. Some stolen items from the fire station were recovered in a car Grant and the other male had borrowed from a friend. Surveillance cameras recorded the men committing the break-in.
“While this sentence will not un-do the damage caused by Mr. Grant and his accomplice, I hope that it shows Mr. Grant and others that our community takes this pointless property destruction seriously,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “The absence of emergency equipment caused by this vandalism presents an obvious community safety issue, and creates a dangerous ripple-effect in our community that no sentence against Mr. Grant can correct.” Representatives of the Cedarcreek Volunteer Fire Department indicated that approximately three (3) fires burned longer than necessary due to delays caused by the unavailability of Cedarcreek’s fire truck. Because the damaged truck was not covered by insurance, it has not been replaced, yet.
These class C felonies normally carry a maximum penalty of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine. However, Grant was charged by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office as a prior and persistent felony offender, because Grant has at least two (2) prior felony convictions. Grant’s prior and persistent felony offender status enhanced the possible maximum sentence in each of Grant’s charges to a term of fifteen (15) years in prison.