Charges: Man nearly overflows New Prague water tower after stealing city vehicle

A man has found himself in some hot water after allegedly stealing a fire department vehicle, nearly overflowing the city of New Prague’s water tower and setting fire to someone else's home and barn.

Dwayne Edward Roach, 59, of Belle Plaine, is facing multiple criminal charges in connection to a series of events that took place on Wednesday, May 4 in Scott County. According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, Roach has been charged with the following nine counts:

  • First-degree arson of a dwelling
  • Second-degree arson
  • Second-degree burglary of a dwelling
  • Third-degree burglary while committing a felony inside the building
  • First-degree damage to property (value reduced over $1,000)
  • Take/drive a motor vehicle without owner consent
  • Possession of controlled substances (not a small amount)
  • Introduction of contraband into jail
  • Obstruction of legal process

The investigation began when Scott County deputies responded to a reported barn fire on 280th Street East in Cedar Lake Township on the morning of May 4. At that location, they found a fire in a Quonset barn and a New Prague Fire Department SUV parked nearby.

Deputies also spotted a man, later identified as Roach, driving a side-by-side vehicle from the scene, hitting a birdhouse in the process. Roach was carrying a Bic lighter and wearing a New Prague Fire Department jacket. Deputies say Roach's eyes were bloodshot and he struggled with officers as they attempted to detain him.

As crews were on the scene, they also noticed smoke coming from a basement-level bedroom.

While being transported to jail, deputies say Roach "spontaneously" admitted to stealing the truck. On his person, deputies say they found a baggie in his wallet that tested positive for methamphetamine.

Deputies say a further investigation into the theft of the fire vehicle found that Roach had visited the New Prague utility building and tampered with controls.

"This action could have resulted in the New Prague water tower overflowing," deputies explain. "Alarms later sounded and the city employees were able to correct the dials.

Roach is now being held in Scott County Jail.