Branson Landing car fire update: Two suspects face first-degree property damage charges

Crime

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Branson Police Department arrested two people in connection to a car fire that happened at the Branson Landing.

Christian Alexander Sneath of Springfield and Cordilia Pearl Niederhelman of Taneyville have been charged with first-degree property damage.

According to the PC, authorities responded to the Cox Branson Parking Garage when a gas tank on a 2016 GMC Denali was punctured. A vehicle was spotted on video surveillance from Cox Branson. The video showed a gray Chevrolet Blazer with a yellow sticker in the center of the rear window.

At 8 p.m. police responded to the Branson Landing Parking Garage for a vehicle fire. Once police were able to view the surveillance they saw a gray SUV exiting the parking garage and damaging the stop arm near the exit.

The vehicle shown leaving the Cox Branson Parking Garage was located at White Oak on East State Hwy 76. Officers found both Sneath and Niederhelman and both individuals were arrested.

Sneath admitted to police to being at the Cox Branson Parking Garage with Niederhelman and stated they attempted to siphon fuel from a jeep but were unsuccessful. Sneath said he saw the Denali and tried to siphon gas from that vehicle but was unsuccessful. Sneath told police Niederhelman gave him a drill and he proceeded to drill the gas tank.

Sneath said they then went to the Branson Landing Parking Garage and started drilling the gas tank of a 2020 GMC Terrain but the drill slipped which caused a spark. The vehicle then caught on fire because of the spark. Sneath saw that his hand and drill were on fire and quickly put the fire out.

Both Sneath and Niederhelman jumped into a vehicle and went to Ball Parks of America where Sneath removed some of the decals and stickers from the vehicle. Sneath stated Niederhelman was with him for both incidents and co-conspired the idea with him.

According to police, the damage to the GMC Terrain was extensive and is possibly a total loss.

It was later discovered that the Branson Landing Parking Garage sustained stress fractures causing concern about the stability of the structure. A structural engineer will be assessing the damage to the structure. Branson Landing Security estimated the damage to the parking garage gate to cost around $1,250.

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