WILLMAR -- A youth has pleaded guilty in connection with a series of burglaries and two garage fires on the west side of Willmar this past June.
Cody Sander, 18, signed the plea agreement Monday, which charges him with two counts of arson in the first degree and one count of burglary in the third degree. Disposition in the Kandiyohi County case is scheduled for Jan. 24. The fires destroyed one garage and a car parked inside, and seriously damaged another garage, a truck and ATV. A neighboring house sustained some fire damage as well.
The fires broke out around 2:30 a.m. June 12 in the 500 and 600 blocks of Ninth Street Southwest.
By the time authorities arrived, one of the garages was engulfed in flames.
Fire officials determined both fires were intentionally set.
Sander and two other juvenile suspects were arrested after being spotted nearby. They were eventually also linked to a series of nighttime burglaries on June 11 at unattached garages in the neighborhood. Missing items included a charcoal grill, a GPS unit, a cooler, a stereo, food and beer.
Sander was released after Monday's court appearance. A pre-disposition investigation has been ordered. Because he was two months short of his 18th birthday when the crimes were committed, the case has been handled in Kandiyohi County juvenile court.
A second youth involved in the arsons and burglaries was sentenced in September. Anthony Von Erickson, 16, is serving 180 days at Prairie Lakes Youth Programs. He also must perform 100 hours of community service and pay $5,460 in restitution.
The third youth in the case is a 15-year-old. In Minnesota, criminal records of 16- and 17-year-olds charged with felonies are public.