JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Prosecutors charged a man with seven felonies and two misdemeanors after he allegedly broke into apartments on Jackson Street and started fires.
According to court documents, Robert Keeton Jr. went inside of an apartment around 6:40 p.m. Thursday while the resident was still inside.
Keeton started destroying the person's property and struggled with him in the living room, police said. When the victim tried to call 911, Keeton reportedly took the person's phone and destroyed it. He then set papers and other items on fire with a disposable lighter.
After leaving that apartment, Keeton went inside another apartment across the hall. The resident struggled with Keeton and tried to push him out of his home, according to investigators. Keeton then set the victim's couch on fire by using a burning plastic sign that he had taken from the first apartment.
According to court documents, Keeton took the victim's phone and shattered it when the person tried to call police.
The fires activated the complex's fire alarms and the building was evacuated. Documents said that the victim and a firefighter chased after Keeton. Police say they saw Keeton run into the lobby of a nearby building and activate another fire alarm in an effort to evacuate that building, as well.
Police said when they approached Keeton in the lobby he said "I had to burn the ship...and I had to light the ship to get everybody off of it." Keeton allegedly told police that he knew what he was doing was illegal and wrong but that "it had to play out the way it did."
Prosecutors charged Keeton with multiple counts of burglary, arson, property damage and assault. Online court records show a hearing is scheduled for Keeton on July 1.
An attorney was not listed for Keeton.