Aurora County arson linked to stolen tractors in Letcher

A January Aurora County fire may be linked to an incident involving stolen tractors in Letcher on the same night.
A photo of a house on fire sent in a text message led to charges being filed against two men, who are also suspected of stealing tractors in Letcher on the night of Jan. 16.
Brandon Mehlbrech, 27, of Mitchell and Allen Antaya, 20, of Plankinton have been charged with first-degree arson. They are accused of intentionally burning an unoccupied house owned by Ronnie and Deanna Wieczorek, four miles west of Mt. Vernon.
On Feb. 1, Jeremy Johnson reported to Mitchell police a text message picture of a burning house he had received from Mehlbrech with a message that said, “what we do lol.”
Antaya’s phone, which was seized during a police interview, held a video of haybales burning. It was later found out the Wieczorek house had haybales next to it.
Johnson also reported viewing a video on Antaya’s phone of Antaya riding on a tractor.
Levi Grosz reported during a Feb. 11 police interview that Mehlbrech and Antaya came over to his house that night and told him they stole tractors, got them stuck in a slough and set a house on fire.
Mehlbrech denied involvement in the fire, but told police he and Antaya had driven around Letcher the same night as the fire, gotten their vehicle stuck and used a tractor owned by the Town of Letcher to pull it out. He said they put the tractor back where they found it.
Antaya has denied involvement in the fire and using the tractor.
Mehlbrech is being held in the Davison County jail. An arrest warrant has been issued for Antaya.

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