Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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Authorities said it took a costume, a comment and a cast of accomplices to pull off a con that fleeced Walmart out of thousands of dollars at various stores in western Wisconsin and Minnesota. According to court documents, the main suspect would enter a Walmart clad in a former employee's vest, then approach a cashier, who would be told it was breaktime. From there, the suspect would open up the cash register to allow a string of accomplices to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards. And then, according to authorities, it was off to the next store.
A North Hudson coin transport business was targeted by current and former employees who made off with more than $30,000 in currency, according to charges filed last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. The alleged thefts were uncovered after a routine traffic stop in Hudson that snowballed into a multi-suspect investigation as coin boxes, surveillance video and interviews surfaced, according to charges filed in the ongoing case.
PRESCOTT — Reports of a man missing in dangerous temperatures ended with him being found cold, but alive. Prescott Police Chief Rob Funk said the man was discovered "a little worse for the wear" during the Tuesday, Dec. 26, incident, though apparently free of serious injuries. He said a Prescott police officer found the man just south of town near St. Joseph's Cemetery along Monroe Street. The man had gone out to look for his dog — a trek that took him to the Mississippi River, where Funk said the man fell in.
A Hastings man is due in court next month on allegations he embezzled more than $70,000 from a Prescott-area golf course. Pierce County prosecutors allege Robert P. Magnuson pocketed cash after issuing fake golf club memberships at Clifton Highlands between September 2016 and March of this year. The 58-year-old is charged with one count of felony theft by false representation.
Mike Perucca was heading to a medical call Sunday night in the town of St. Joseph when another emergency caught his attention before he got out of his North Hudson neighborhood. "I noticed an abnormal amount of smoke in the area," he said. It didn't take long for the St. Joe first responder — who also works as a Hudson firefighter — to determine the smoke was coming from a garage fire at 700 Fourth St. N. Perucca, who's also the city of Hudson's fire inspector, noticed an orange glow in the garage as he approached the house just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 12.
The Stillwater man accused of stashing more than 130 pounds of pot in a St. Croix County storage unit could avoid prison, according to statements made last week in court. The attorney for Karl R. Heinrichs said Oct. 25 that a recommendation in a related Minnesota case calls for the 45-year-old to receive a combination of probation and jail. The St. Croix County Circuit Court hearing was originally set for a plea and sentencing, but that was called off after defense attorney Eric Johnson announced a surprise development in the Minnesota case.
A St. Paul skydiving instructor had anything but a soft landing last month after allegedly attempting to parachute from atop a St. Croix County cellphone tower. Court documents filed this week state the man’s parachute got hung up on power lines on the way down, snagging him and causing him to receive an electrical shock. The 44-year-old survived the July 29 incident, but was later charged with two felonies stemming from the failed attempt, which left 127 customers without power for nearly two hours.
A popular east metro golf course must pay out $130,000 to former employees who were the targets of sexual harassment and reprisals by the owner, according to a Washington County District Court ruling. Judge Mary Hannon ruled Monday, Aug. 21, that William Doebler and Mississippi Dunes Golf Links violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) and allowed a hostile work environment for employees who faced sexual harassment and reprisal. Hannon admonished the golf course in her ruling, saying its failure to respond to sex discrimination allegations was "alarming."
A trio of Minnesota men are accused in a rowdy night that allegedly led to a burglary and a robbery at a Prescott apartment. One man booted down the door of an apartment complex before he and others entered the building and wrestled a man's cellphone away, according to charges filed last week in Pierce County Circuit Court. The men allegedly fled the area in a boat to Hastings, where one suspect reportedly slugged another in the face.
Authorities said DNA evidence linked two Woodbury men to a 2015 burglary where more than $76,000 worth of copper wire was stolen from a North Hudson railroad construction site. On Wednesday, Aug. 9, St. Croix County prosecutors filed charges against those men and two others also suspected in the case. Woodbury residents James C. Boyer, 37, and Daniel G. Kirchoff, 41, were both charged with two counts each of of felony theft and two misdemeanors: criminal property damage and entry onto a construction site.