Missouri Man Charged With Burning Own Business for Insurance

March 23, 2009

An El Dorado, Missouri man who claimed someone burned his three Stockton businesses because he’s gay has been charged with planning their torching himself.

Cedar County authorities have charged 38-year-old Dan Thornton with second degree arson and theft. They already arrested Dina Larson and her son, Jacob Smith, in connection with the early Wednesday fires.

Investigators said in a probable cause statement that they obtained undercover audio recordings of conversations between Larson and Thornton discussing the fires.

They allege that Thornton had Larson and Smith set fires at the businesses so he could collect the insurance money to pay off large debts.

Investigators initially thought the arson was a hate crime after Thornton said he was a target for being gay.

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