ST. CLAIR COUNTY • The two men charged Friday in a string of six barn and shed arson fires are a "Beavis and Butt-head duo" who just got a kick out of setting blazes, police say.
"They wanted to go out there and start fires and stir up stuff," said Capt. Steve Johnson of the St. Clair County sheriff's office. "It doesn't necessarily make sense why they would do this."
Bryan Boide, 23, of Belleville, and Nicholas Haegele, 19, of O'Fallon, were each charged with six counts of arson. In all, police said they started seven fires for "no apparent reason." They targeted sheds and barns.
Police in St. Clair County have been investigating a string of suspicious fires in the past month. Officers from area departments spent time patrolling backroads in unmarked police cars, during the times of day that the arsonists had struck. They stopped cars to try to obtain information.
The big break came just after midnight Wednesday. That's when Boide and Haegele were nabbed by a property owner on Bay Point Drive who got suspicious when he saw them walking around with flashlights on his property. The man grabbed his shotgun, held the pair at gunpoint and walked them to a neighbor's home. He had the neighbor call police.
"It's amazing to us when we talked to these individuals and tried to figure out what exactly they were doing and why they were out there, without a doubt this is a Beavis and Butt-head duo. There really was no rhyme or reason for what they were doing other than they're idiots," Johnson said.
Beavis and Butt-head are the iconic animated MTV characters who are the epitome of slackers.
Johnson admits that Beavis and Butt-head isn't the typical profile of arsonists nationwide. But, in this case, he said it fits. "They were just out and they thought it was fun.," he said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This version corrects an earlier story that had the first name of Bryan Boide and the last name of Nicholas Haegele spelled incorrectly.
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OUR EARLIER STORY
Sheriff's deputies planned a news conference today about a string of suspicious shed and barn fires near Freeburg in the past month.
Two people were being held after they were detained early Thursday near Bay Point Drive in Freeburg, the St. Clair County sheriff's department said.
Police expected to present the case to prosecutors this morning.
Police in St. Clair County have been investigating about a half dozen suspicious shed fires around the area over the past month.
The news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m.