IONIA, MI – On October 21st, 2017, Deputies with the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the 4000 block Smokey Row in Ionia Township reference a barn fire.
Upon arrival it was discovered that the barn was a total loss and had all but burned itself out over the course of the night. Inside the barn were two stolen vehicles that were destroyed by the fire, a BMW motorcycle reported stolen to the Ionia Department of Public Safety and a Ford F-150 pickup truck reported stolen from Sunfield, MI to the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office. With the Assistance of the Michigan State Police Fire Investigation Unit and the Ionia Department of Public Safety, accelerants were located in the fire debris and the fire was determined to be arson.
While investigating a series of stolen vehicles and larcenies from other vehicles at the Ventra factory on Beardsley Rd this past January, in collaboration with the Ionia Department of Public Safety, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office was able to identify a suspect by the name of Hunter Wagner, an 18 year old Ionia man. Wagner was arrested on January 14, 2018 on unrelated charges.
During subsequent interviews and investigation of Wagner, Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies determined that Wagner was responsible for multiple vehicle thefts from Ventra Automotive which were later found burned in various locations within Ionia County. Wagner was also linked to several stolen vehicles in and around the City of Ionia, and determined to be involved with the arson fire of the barn on Smokey Row in Ionia Township- which had been purposely set to destroy evidence of the motorcycle and pickup truck thefts.
Hunter Wagner is currently lodged at the Ionia County Jail, and has been arraigned on multiple counts of motor vehicle theft, two counts of arson, multiple counts of larceny from a motor vehicle, and two counts of malicious destruction of private property. His bond was set at $25,000.
This arrest was the result of a collaborative investigation between the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office, the Ionia Department of Public Safety, and the Michigan State Police Fire Investigation Unit.