Burglary suspect allegedly sought to rig Platte City home to burn or explode

A 44-year-old man allegedly broke into a Platte City home and caused damage in an apparent attempt to burn down or blow up the building, according to courtdocuments.

In charges filed last week, the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office alleges that Russell Divine entered a home on West Mill Street on Friday, Jan. 27 on a report of a burglary. Platte City Police Department officers found the glass rear patio door broken and forced open and detected a strong odor of natural gas.

According to court documents, emergency personnel believed the home was set up “to burn or explode” without intervention.

A lengthy investigation found that Russell Divine had been in the area based on cell phone records, and the parents of his ex-wife lived at the residence. He has been charged with felonies for burglary and stalking in addition to misdemeanors for violating an order of protection and property damage.

According to online records, Divine is no longer in custody, and the Platte County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warrant for his arrest in the case.

Owners of the property burglarized in Platte City found nothing missing, although the home appeared to have been ransacked. The only other damaged item appeared to an antique family heirloom corner cabinet known to be special to Divine’s ex-girlfriend.

According to court documents, the homeowners’ daughter had been in contact with Divine through text message on the day of the break-in. He allegedly said in the middle of a text rant, “Tell your folks I said Howdy,” which the woman found out of the ordinary and believed was his way of taking credit for what had been done to the house.

The woman had an order or protection against Divine and had been avoiding him because he allegedly had threatened to kill her.

A neighbor and witness said she heard a loud banging between 10 a.m. and noon on the day of the break-in. She also saw a gray Chevrolet sedan in the driveway that was gone later in the day — a vehicle description that matches a car owned by Divine’s current girlfriend, according to court documents.

The ex-wife said Divine had been texting her in violation of protection order issued in Clay County.

According to court documents, the victim believed Divine’s messages were threatening and harassing. She also believed he did damage to her parents’ home in retaliation for them helping her to leave the relationship.

The woman said she left multiple items behind when she left Divine and had since seen pictures of her items on fire or burnt.

According to court documents, phone records obtained through a search warrant showed that at approximately 11:39 a.m. on the day of the burglary Divine’s cell phone was used just south of Platte City, along the Interstate 29 corridor. That same day at 11:58 a.m. the  cell phone was used in the Platte City area, and the plot of the cell phones location included the burglarized home.

At 12:01 p.m., Divine’s cell phone was used just south of Platte City along the I-29 corridor. This corresponds with the times the daughter received text messages from Divine.

An attempt was made to interview Divine in the Jackson County Detention Center where he was serving a sentence for a violation of order of protection conviction involving the same victim, although the case was unrelated to the one in Platte City. He declined to speak with investigators.