Garland County felon charged in arson, truck theft

HOT SPRINGS — A Hot Springs man has been arrested on multiple felony charges, including arson, in connection with a fire at the Garland County Landfill and the theft of a company truck, with damages estimated at over $150,000.

Tyler John Shuffield, 35, who lists a White Eagle Trail address and is a felon, was taken into custody at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, 300 Werner St., shortly after 10:30 am Wednesday and initially charged with possession of a firearm by certain persons, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and theft by receiving a firearm, punishable by up to six years, stemming from a stolen gun allegedly found in his vehicle.

After further investigation, Shuffield was charged shortly before 2 pm that same day with Arson, punishable by up to life in prison, theft of property over $25,000 and first-degree criminal mischief over $25,000, each punishable by up to 20 years, and commercial burglary , punishable by up to 10 years.

Shuffield was still being held without bail as of Friday and is set to appear on May 9 in Garland County District Court. According to court records, he was convicted on Aug. 30, 2005, in Garland County of residential burglary and sentenced to five years ‘ probation which was revoked in 2008 and he was sentenced to six years in prison.

According to the probable cause affidavits obtained Friday, on Sunday, April 17, at an unspecified time, Garland County sheriff’s deputies responded to a wreck in the 1100 block of Cedarglade Road. They reportedly found a man, later identified as Shuffield, lying in the roadway.

They noted Shuffield had injuries “consistent with falling or jumping from a moving vehicle.” Near where Shuffield was found, deputies located a white 2022 Ford F-250 truck that would later be identified as stolen from the Garland County Landfill, 1040 Cedarglade Road.

The truck had crashed off the roadway and into a wooded area. Deputies discovered a “long black object” that was wedged between the back of the driver’s seat and the accelerator.

Near the truck, they reportedly found a model fire truck, valued at $200, and a Motorola radio, valued at $800, along with ID badges belonging to Billy Sawyer, the manager of the landfill.

Sawyer was contacted and came to the scene. He stated Shuffield was an ex-employee who had been terminated about three months earlier. He also noted the fire truck and radio had been taken from his office.

Sawyer and deputies went to the landfill and discovered a single-wide mobile home that was used as an office had smoke coming from the windows. Fire personnel were notified and responded to the scene and extinguished a fire in the office.

Fire personnel allegedly found multiple paper files that appeared to have intentionally been set on fire “as there was no source of ignition close to where they were kept.”

Sawyer and the deputies also discovered that a building between the two weigh stations had “a significant amount of damage to it,” which was consistent with “being struck by a large vehicle.”

Sawyer estimated the damage to the weigh station building to be in excess of $25,000 and the damage to his office and equipment to be in excess of $125,000. The value of the stolen F-250 truck was estimated at $50,000.

Sawyer noted Shuffield was never allowed access to the truck during his employment at the landfill and never had permission to enter or drive it.

While conducting a search of the area near where Shuffield was found “looking for any additional victims,” ​​deputies located a black 2010 Ford F-150 “Harley-Davidson edition” pickup truck that was registered to a man living at the same listed address as Shuffield, with the same last name.

Sawyer noted Shuffield was known to drive a truck matching the one found. Deputies looked through the windows of the truck and reportedly saw a black handgun “in plain view” in a pouch on the back of the front passenger seat.

The truck was towed to the sheriff’s office and the next day, April 18, investigators obtained a search warrant for the truck and retrieved the handgun, a SCCY 9mm, valued at $228.30, and a computer check determined it had been reported stolen out of hot Springs.

A computer check of Shuffield’s criminal history showed his prior felony conviction which prohibits him from possessing any firearms. Warrants on the various charges were later issued on Wednesday.

Comments are closed.