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Rocky Branch classroom burglary brings criminal charges

A 47-year-old Minnesota man faces two felony burglaries and one identity theft charge for walking into two classrooms at Rocky Branch Elementary School last month and stealing teachers purses. He and a female accomplice later fraudulently used the credit cards and checks from the purses to make multiple purchases at stores in Woodbury, Oakdale and Maplewood, Minn. They also illegally cashed a large check at WESTconsin Credit Union in River Falls.

The Minnesota man, who has a lengthy criminal history, was jailed last month in Dakota County, Minn..

There, he faces similar criminal charges for burglarizing school classrooms and breaking into cars parked at schools. He also wanted in other jurisdictions in the Twin Cities because of these alleged crimes.

The Pierce County district attorney brought additional charges against him for what occurred at Rocky Branch. Surveillance video from the school and WESTconsin Credit Union helped identify the suspect.

According to the criminal complaint, the Rocky Branch classrooms were burglarized during lunch hour on Monday, Oct. 4. No students were present when the teachers' purses were stolen.

For more on this story, please read the Nov. 17 print edition of the River Falls Journal.