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Man charged with kidnapping was previously accused in unrelated house explosion
[January 02, 2013]

Man charged with kidnapping was previously accused in unrelated house explosion

Jan 02, 2013 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- ST. LOUIS COUNTY -- About four months before Ryan Beckler stole a Jeep with a toddler inside, authorities say, he was arrested as a suspect in a botched copper theft that caused a gas explosion, seriously burning him.

His injuries caused the St. Louis County jail to refuse to hold him after his hospitalization, leaving police to release him to his mother. Officials said Wednesday that the jail's reaction did not set the stage for the subsequent abduction in Jefferson County, because Beckler would have been freed from custody long before then anyway.

Beckler, 21, of the 2100 block of Palatine Court, near Fenton, was held as a suspect after an explosion July 6 that police said occurred as he damaged a gas line while trying to steal copper from a vacant home on his block. The dwelling was destroyed.

He remained in Mercy Medical Center until July 24. Creve Coeur police obtained a "Fit for Confinement" certificate and arrested him but were turned away from the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton, according to county police Officer Randy Vaughn. Jail staff said they could not manage Becker's continuing care.

County police released Beckler to his mother, Vaughn said. Beckler would not have been held in jail more than 24 hours because police did not yet have enough evidence to apply for formal charges, Vaughn explained. "Sometime within the next 24 hours, he was going to be at his mom's house anyway." Prosecutors took the evidence under advisement Aug. 22, pending the outcome of DNA testing and search warrants for phone records, according to a spokesman there.

Meanwhile, Beckler's health improved and he resumed his criminal behavior, becoming the subject of several drug-related arrests, police said.

About 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13, a woman, 25, went into a gas station near Imperial, leaving her 19-month-old daughter in a running Jeep. Beckler allegedly drove off with it. The child was soon found, unhurt, in her car seat left in a driveway.

The Jeep was stopped later by a deputy sheriff. Beckler was charged in Jefferson County on Nov. 15 with stealing, kidnapping and child endangerment. He was on probation for theft and burglary convictions in St. Louis County at the time, court records say.

Five days after he was charged in Jefferson County, St. Louis County police presented evidence in the home explosion to prosecutors. Beckler was charged Dec. 26 with burglary and causing an explosion in that incident. He remains in the Jefferson County Jail.

___ (c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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