Wesley Kaster is a Missouri man charged with arson at a clinic operated by Planned Parenthood, federal prosecutors announced Monday.
Kaster, 42, was charged in federal court with one count of maliciously damaging a building, owned by an organization the receives federal financial assistance, by means of fire or an explosive, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri announced in a news release.
According to prosecutors, Kaster was caught on surveillance video at the Columbia Health Center, which is operated by Planned Parenthood, on the night of February 10.
Prosecutors say Kaster parked near the clinic at around 2:30 am and carried a “seemingly heavy white bucket to the north exterior door of the Planned Parenthood building.”
Police say Kaster broke the front door, put the bucket inside the building, and “threw a Molotov cocktail-type device inside the building.”
Kaster remained at the building until two pedestrians approached at around 2:52 am and he fled, police say. He returned at around 4 am and fled after smoke began to billow out of the broken door.
Wesley Kaster Arrested After He Was Caught Throwing ‘Molotov Cocktail’ on Surveillance Video
Firefighters called to the scene discovered that an accelerant was used to fuel the fire, which caused moderate damage to the clinic. Investigators said they found two buckets that contained gasoline and he remains of a Molotov cocktail, prosecutors said.
Investigators tracked the car Kaster used to his address and obtained receipts from Lowe’s for all recent purchases of similar buckets, which included a purchase by Kaster.
“Surveillance videos related to that purchase, according to the affidavit, clearly captured Kaster’s face and physical features,” prosecutors said.
Kaster’s Wife Posted Anti-Planned Parenthood Messages on Facebook
Investigators searched Kaster’s social media accounts and those associated with him as part of the probe. One message, posted on his wife’s Facebook page, shows a handgun with the caption “Guns Don’t Kill People, Planned Parenthood Kills People.”
Investigators executed a search warrant and obtained evidence that “definitively tied Kaster to the crime scene.”
Kaster was arrested on March 2. He remains in federal custody and is scheduled to appear in court on March 7.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO Brandon J. Hill said in a statement Monday, “We are grateful for law enforcement’s swift and serious response to this crime.”
“Let this send a clear message: Blocking access to essential health care is against the law, whether it takes the form of violence and vandalism or threats against our patients, our providers, or our supporters,” he said.