Two Ellsworth men charged with burglarizing fair buildingsELLSWORTH — Charges were filed last week against two Ellsworth men accused of breaking into buildings on the Pierce County Fairgrounds this past summer and taking cash, food and tools.
By: Judy Wiff, The Republican Eagle
ELLSWORTH — Charges were filed last week against two Ellsworth men accused of breaking into buildings on the Pierce County Fairgrounds this past summer and taking cash, food and tools.
Dylan M. Berner, 19, and James M. Leonard, 17, made first appearances on charges of burglary, receiving stolen property and damage to property.
Berner made an initial appearance Monday Oct. 10 on two felony burglary charges, three misdemeanor charges of receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property. He was released on signature bonds, and a preliminary hearing was set for 10:15 a.m. Oct. 18.
Leonard made an initial appearance Thursday Oct. 6 on two felony counts of burglary, five misdemeanor counts of theft and two misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property. He was released on signature bonds, and his next court appearance is set for 10:15 a.m. Oct. 18.
Leonard is accused of breaking into buildings and the Ellsworth Funsters’ van at the fairgrounds in May. Items reported stolen then included a wheelbarrow full of pop, flats of chips, $25 in cash and an iPod.
Fair Groundskeeper Ken Hines reported that there had been entry to almost every building on the fairgrounds.
Acting on a tip, two Ellsworth police officers went to four abandoned houses owned by the county on the 300 and 400 blocks of Grove Street but found nothing. But when they searched a shed, they found a lawn chair, a flashlight, unopened cans of pop and a cloth bag with clown pants. They also found packs and boxes of many different brands of pop, a cooler and a partially empty bottle of an alcohol drink.
Subsequently, an Ellsworth High School staff member called police to report that kids had been talking about who had might have broken into the building, and one student said Leonard had gone to the Fairgrounds with another person.
After speaking to Leonard at the jail, officers went to Berner’s home where they said they found cans of alcohol and non-alcohol beverages, a Milwaukee Sawzall with Hines’ name on it, a silver impact wrench, a power cord and unopened bags of chips.
Both Leonard and Berner are accused of breaking into the Funsters’ building at the Fairgrounds June 22 and taking four 18-packs and two 12-packs of beer and a six pack of another alcoholic drink. Value of the things taken was estimated at $103 and damage to the building was estimated at $93.
A fire extinguisher, a Dewalt angle grinder and a portable skill saw reported stolen from the fairgrounds have not been recovered. The value of the tools taken was estimated at over $800.
In a separate case, Berner is accused of burglarizing a house in Bay City July 18 and taking a mini-bike from the garage. That incident accounts for a count each of burglary and receiving stolen property. The preliminary hearing on that case is set for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 24.
In another case, Leonard is accused of stealing three diamond rings and a computer from a house in Ellsworth and a computer hard drive and an iPod from another house in April.
During the course of an interview, an Ellsworth police officer was told that Leonard had left “a bag of stolen things” at another young man’s home. The bag, officers said, included the rings, a mini hard drive for a computer and a camera.
According to the complaint, when Leonard was arrested on a warrant, he had two backpacks in his possession. In them were a digital hard drive, an iPod and seven rings. The hard drive was valued at $75 and the iPod at $190.