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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WOODBURY — A bust that began with man caught toting a mattress out of a JC Penney store opened a Pandora’s Box of stolen loot that two of Washington County’s most tenured prosecutors said was the largest such retail crime ring they’ve seen.
A roofer fatally attacked a coworker at a River Falls-area job site with a saw, authorities said Tuesday. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said a 37-year-old man died at the scene and a 24-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide. The deceased was identified as St. Louis, Mo., resident Israel Valles-Flores.
An anonymous tip led to the discovery of several ounces of methamphetamine and syringes loaded with heroin last week during a St. Croix County traffic stop. The incident led to three arrests, including a Twin Cities man who told authorities the drugs belonged to him, according to court documents. That man, Oakdale resident Daniel J. Moser, 37, was charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with methamphetamine possession with intent to deliver and heroin possession with intent to deliver.
A man with six prior OWI convictions was arrested at gunpoint last week after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase through New Richmond. The driver, Chetek resident Wade M. Davis, was later charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with his seventh drunken-driving offense, hit and run, attempting to flee an officer and second-degree recklessly endangering safety. He was being held on $3,500 cash bail after his initial appearance July 25. According to a criminal complaint:
Two St. Croix County sheriff candidates are competing in next week's primary to run as the Republican in the general election. The Aug. 14 primary pits incumbent Scott Knudson against challenger Steven Mael. The winner will advance to the November election to face Constitution Party candidate Marion Shaw, a town of Hudson resident. The Republican candidates submitted the following responses to a RiverTown Multimedia questionnaire: Scott Knudson Age: 46 Address: Somerset Township Website: Twitter: Facebook:
Authorities allege a 49-year-old man placed a hidden camera in a New Richmond-area house, the recordings from which depicted a juvenile girl. The St. Croix County District Attorney's Office charged the man, Edward K. Schorr, with sexploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and two counts of exposing genitals to a child. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham set cash bail at $15,000 at Schorr's initial appearance. Schorr, of New Richmond, waived his preliminary hearing at a July 27 hearing, where the case was moved to the trial phase.
A man who was found highly intoxicated after allegedly shooting his son to death in New Richmond was not put back in jail as prosecutors wanted, despite new allegations he'd been out drinking in Minnesota while on bond. A St. Croix County District Attorney's Office motion sought to keep Kayle A. Fleischauer in jail pending the outcome of a trial, alleging he failed to abide alcohol-related terms of his bond.
Family members of a River Falls business owner severely injured in a motorcycle crash last week said he would not have survived if not for the actions of people who rushed to his aid. The crash, which occurred just before 8 a.m. July 24 on Carmichael Road, left 32-year-old Michael Seidling with a severed leg and other injuries that left him recovering at Regions Hospital last week in St. Paul. "We are eternally grateful to these people that saved him," said Seidling's sister, Somerset resident Leigh Derosier. Seidling owns River Falls-based Greenwood Tattoo Parlor.
A New Richmond man accused of attempting to kill his mother pleaded guilty this week to two charges in the case. Omar Martinez, 26, pleaded guilty July 30 in St. Croix County Circuit Court to first-degree recklessly endangering safety and battery by use of a dangerous weapon. The most serious count, first-degree attempted homicide, was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Two sex-related cases led to prison time for defendants last month in St. Croix County. Former Somerset resident Jennifer Bowers was sentenced June 26 to three years in prison and seven years on extended supervision. The 44-year-old pleaded guilty in March to one count of child enticement involving sexual contact.