OELWEIN – A Winthorp man is facing charges in connection with a break-in and fire that damaged a rural Oelwein home in January.
According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, deputies charged Hayes Edward William Kern, 19, with one count each of first-degree arson and third-degree burglary in connection with the Jan. 21 fire at 14363 35th St. Bond for the charges was set at $50,000 cash only.
Kern is currently in the Buchanan County Jail being held on charges of second-degree theft and unauthorized credit card use for allegedly taking a car, and when those charges are resolved, he was will be transferred to Fayette County.
Smoke was spotted coming from the home, which was being remodeled, and the residence’s co-owner spotted a vehicle leaving the scene of the fire, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
That same day, Kern was seen in Hazleton driving a Pontiac G6 that had been reported stolen by a relative. When the witness approached Kern, he drove off in a hurry, according to court records. Also that day, Kern allegedly used a credit card from a wallet in the stolen car to buy $10 worth of food at the McDonald’s restaurant in Independence, records state.
Kern was later detained in Menard County, Ill., just north of Springfield, driving the Pontiac, records state. He was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, and the Illinois case was dismissed when he was returned to Iowa.