Columbia man charged with arson at Planned Parenthood clinic

2 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Monday, March 04 2019 Mar 4, 2019 Monday, March 04, 2019 10:09:00 AM CST March 04, 2019 in News
By: KaMaria Braye , KOMU 8 Reporter & Kevin Broshek, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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COLUMBIA - Federal prosecutors charged a Columbia man with arson in connection to a February fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Wesley Brian Kaster, 42, was charged with one count of maliciously damaging a building, owned by an organization that receives federal financial assistance, by means of a fire or an explosive. Kaster, who was arrested on Saturday, March 2, will remain in federal custody until his next hearing on Thursday, March 7.

Documents said surveillance video showed Kaster in the clinic parking lot the morning of the fire. According to the complaint, Kaster first went to the clinic around 2:30 a.m., then returned again around 4 a.m.

During the second visit, Kaster was reportedly accompanied by another person, and had "an undiscernible item in his left hand". Three minutes later in the video, smoke can be seen pouring through a broken glass door.

At one point Planned Parenthood's surveillance shows Kaster wearing a head covering, and collared jacket while carrying a white bucket.

A Hy-Vee employee also identified Kaster, after he made purchases related to the crime at the store.

Investigators even found Kaster's dog hair at the scene of the crime.

Furthermore, authorities searched social media and found in 2015 Kaster's wife posted on her facebook page a photo of a handgun and the words, "Guns Don't Kill People, Planned Parenthood Kills, People."

The probable Cause Statement describes every action investigators took to discover Kaster was involved in the fire.

Federal investigators executed a number of search warrants Saturday and arrested Kaster at his home.

A representative of Planned Parenthood Great Plains said in a statement Monday that the Columbia Health Center supports law enforcement's efforts in the investigation.

"Let this send a clear message: Blocking access to essential health care is against the law, whether it takes the form of violence and vandalism or threats against our patients, our providers, or our supporters.With sexual and reproductive health care under attack in Missouri, our mission is more important than ever before," Planned Parenthood said.

Kaster's next court hearing is on Thursday.

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