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Grove City teen sentenced to probation, jail, fine and ordered to pay restitution for role in Atwater burglaries

WILLMAR -- Austin Thomas Klinghagen, 18, of Grove City, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation, $1,000 in fines and 90 days of jail time for his role in burglarizing two Atwater businesses in October.

As part of his sentence in Kandiyohi County District Court on charges of liability for crimes of another - third-degree burglary, Klinghagen was ordered to pay $10,305 in restitution, with his two co-defendants, to the Island Pines Golf Course. Restitution to Atwater Ag was reserved for 30 days.

Klinghagen is one of three young men charged in the crimes. Kyle Richard Litzau, 18, of Atwater, has pleaded guilty to two felony charges and will be sentenced April 13. Damon Dwight Weiderhoft, 20, of Cosmos, has his next court date on May 29, with a jury trial scheduled for June 3 and 4.

The three also face charges in Meeker County District Court of burglary, theft and property damage for three Grove City businesses burglaries two days after the Atwater incidents. Klinghagen has pleaded guilty to two charges and will be sentenced April 27. Litzau has pleaded guilty to two charges and will be sentenced April 30. Weiderhoft is scheduled for a May 20 jury trial.

The local charges were filed after a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy was called on a burglary report around 7 a.m. Oct. 16 at Atwater Ag. Employees had arrived that morning to find someone had entered the building and gone through the offices. A fax machine and calculator were damaged. Candy bars and a camera were stolen. A briefcase containing personal checks, a watch and bottle of liquor was stolen. It was later recovered near Litzau's home. The damage was estimated at more than $2,000.

Another officer was called around 7:30 a.m. the same day by one of the owners of Island Pines Golf Course. The man said he could see two of the course's golf carts in a nearby creek. Two other carts were found at other locations. The total damage to the carts was estimated at $4,062.

At the golf course, the officer found the pro shop had been entered and ransacked. Papers, files, score cards, golf balls and other merchandise were thrown about the floor. A printer, computer and cash register were damaged, and it appeared golf clubs had been used to smash holes in the wall and to smash beverage containers. Golf course officials tallied the damage -- not including the golf carts -- to be $4,430. A number of items estimated at more than $2,000 had also been stolen from the club.

That same day, Atwater police were informed that the Meeker County Sheriff's Office had investigated the Grove City burglaries. Through the investigation, officers learned Klinghagen and Litzau had allegedly done graffiti damage in Meeker County and that computers and other stolen items were stored at the home of a relative of Weiderhoft. Officers went to the home and found stolen computers, electronics and other items from both the Atwater and Grove City burglaries.