Accused RF burglar charged with 2nd break-inA disgruntled ex-employee accused of burglarizing Designer Doors, 702 N. Troy St. in the city’s industrial park, has been charged with another business burglary in rural Barron County.
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
A disgruntled ex-employee accused of burglarizing Designer Doors, 702 N. Troy St. in the city’s industrial park, has been charged with another business burglary in rural Barron County.
The suspect in the Oct. 20 Designer Doors incident is a 35-year-old River Falls man.
The River Falls police case, including two felonies for burglary and criminal property damage, is under review by the St. Croix County district attorney.
The suspect is also wanted in Pierce County for violating terms of his court-ordered probation.
River Falls police were called by staff at Designer Doors early Friday morning, Oct. 21. There they found:
- Two company vehicles damaged. One, a Chevy flatbed white truck, had its windows and mirrors shattered, tires slashed, glove box ransacked and gas tank punctured and leaking.
The other company vehicle, a Mitsubishi truck had windows, mirrors and attached cabinets broken.
- A metal cage holding nine propane tanks from Ferrellgas was broken into and the 40-pound tanks inside stolen.
- An expensive tarp to cover a semi-trailer was slashed in long strips.
The River Falls Fire Department was called to deal with the gas tank leak. Firefighters placed a chemical absorber under the truck to capture the leaking gas.
Damages to the two trucks, the tarp and some other items totaled almost $23,000.
After going over names of recently released Designer Door employees, the 35-year-old River Falls man was identified as a possible suspect.
He was later found to be in Barron County Jail following his arrest days later for a rural business burglary. In another unrelated incident, he is also accused of stealing a trailer from an implement dealer in Baldwin.
According to a story in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, the River Falls man was arrested before dawn Oct. 24 at a service station in Prairie Farm.
He allegedly broke into and carried out a chain saw and box of oil and filters from the station before putting them in his pickup.
Law enforcement officers arrived to find the man under his pickup with an attached trailer. He said he’d stopped at the service station to check on his truck’s U joints.
Supposedly officers found a large screwdriver and crowbar they believe were used to pry open the station’s entrance door.
They report that the trailer was stolen from Baldwin and that the suspect had the trailer’s vehicle identification number in one of his pockets.
River Falls case
After being interviewed in Barron County Jail by River Falls Police Investigator John Wilson, the following profile of the suspect emerged:
The man worked at Designer Doors as a temp from last fall to March. Then he was hired full time but was fired in September for missing work and not calling in.
According to police, the suspect admitted that he had hard feelings about the dismissal. He was also upset about a falling out with his girlfriend.
The man had been living at an apartment at 819 S. Wasson Lane but was being evicted for not paying rent. He was in the process of moving to his parents’ house in Rice Lake.
The man allegedly told Wilson that on the night of Oct. 20, he drank a 12-pack of Budweiser, drove his F-250 Ford pickup past Designer Doors and just decided to pull in, parking by a wood pile.
He allegedly said he tried to siphon gas from the Chevy flatbed, failed, so punctured the bottom of the tank and used a tote bag to collect gas that streamed out. Then he poured gas from the tote into his pickup’s tank.
He allegedly said he broke some truck windows, used a pocketknife to puncture tires but couldn’t recall slashing the tarp over the semi.
The man said he used a crowbar to pop a lock on the storage cage for the propane tanks and then swiped five of them.
He described where he took and hid the tanks.
Wilson, returning to River Falls from Barron and following the man’s directions, located the five propane tanks stacked under a bridge over a creek off 900th Street 100 yards south of Hwy. 29 just east of River Falls.
Designer Doors supervisors, however, said nine propane tanks were missing. The propane fuels the company’s forklifts.
The Designer Doors incident also included building ductwork found disconnected from two parked semi-trailers. That left a scattered sawdust residue in the parking lot.
Besides the crowbar and large screwdriver, Barron County officers allegedly recovered a ball-peen hammer as evidence shortly after the River Falls man was arrested for the burglary in that jurisdiction.
Editor’s note: The suspect’s name wasn’t published for this story because he hasn’t been charged or arrested for the Designer Doors burglary/damage incident yet.