Cloud And Republic County Property Damage Incidents May Be Connected

The Dodge 1500 before…

Law enforcement officials in Cloud County are investigating a suspected case of arson which left a 2004 Dodge 1500 Quad-cab pick-up in charred ruins. It was discovered on Saturday in the parking area of the former Rock Quarry night club just outside of Concordia to the southwest of Cloud County Community College.

The pick-up had been left there due to a mechanical failure on or around March 25 and was awaiting a replacement part to be obtained and installed. It is believed to have been set upon fire and destroyed sometime between Good Friday evening and the early morning hours of Saturday this past Easter weekend. The remains of the pick-up show proof of having endured intense enough heat to melt and collapse engine components as well as the front passenger side rim.

This photo of the engine compartment was taken through a wide opening in the front of the pick-up. The grill and radiator which would normally block such a view were thoroughly destroyed by the fire.
A rim melted down nearly to the lug nuts. Seemingly treated like ice by the fire more so than metal.

On Tuesday evening, March 28, four windows of a house on the east side of the historical Czech community of Cuba, Kan. were found shattered according to the residents upon their return home that evening. They also reported interior damage to at least one room of the home to the Republic County Sheriff’s Department.

The front seats on the interior from outside the driver’s side window.
The remains of the dashboard area taken through the passenger side window.

The separate incidents are likely connected, at some level, as a resident of the targeted home in Cuba is also the owner of the Dodge pick-up destroyed near Concordia. Seemingly insignificant items from the home including a pair of jeans, a belt and a throw rug were later realized by the Cuba residents to be missing following their report of the break-in and property damage. These specific items were later recovered at the scene of the toasted truck and taken in as evidence by Cloud County investigators.

Those items were found lying on the ground near the remains of the vehicle, but far enough away as to not have met the same fiery fate. These unofficially missing and later recovered items would carry more weight in terms of evidence to connect the home and vehicle incidents had they been noticed and reported as stolen at the time the property damage was reported on the house in Cuba.

The names of victims, persons of interest, criminal suspects, additional details will not be reported until they are officially determined and made available by the respective law enforcement agencies involved with the investigations.

Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.