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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Counterfeit bill

WILLMAR -- The passing of a counterfeit $10 bill was reported around 1 p.m. Wednesday at McDonald's, 717 First St. S.

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Property damage

WILLMAR -- Two vehicles with slashed tires and other damage were reported between 1:20 and 2 p.m. Wednesday along the 1400 block of Fifth Street Southwest.

WILLMAR -- Graffiti on a garage and telephone box was reported around 8:45 a.m. Thursday along the 600 block of Fourth Street Southeast.

Arrest

WILLMAR -- A 47-year-old Spicer man was arrested on charges of driving while impaired around 6:45 a.m. Thursday along U.S. Highway 12 and Seventh Street.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- John Francis Springer, 20, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to a third-degree burglary charge for burglarizing an Atwater home on Nov. 10.

As part of a plea agreement, the charge was reduced from second-degree burglary and another felony charge of burglary and a misdemeanor theft charge will be dismissed. He will be sentenced June 2.

The charges were filed after an Atwater man reported to the city police department around 3:15 p.m. Nov. 10 that his home had been burglarized and a laptop and purse were missing. He believed that Travis Charles Berends, 18, of Atwater, had committed the crime. Berends faces the same set of charges as Springer and is scheduled for a May 29 jury trial.

Berends was interviewed, and denied involvement. However, after a Nov. 15 accident involving both Berends and Springer, a rollover crash that injured several passengers, documents from the woman's purse were found in his vehicle by officers. He was interviewed again and admitted that he and Springer had gone to the home and taken the laptop and purse.

Another Atwater officer had stopped their vehicle that day, after a citizen had called reporting a suspicious car near the home. The driver was identified as Berends and the officer identified Springer after being shown his photograph.

- Erwin Rommel Potaiah, 38, currently in the county jail, made his first appearance Thursday on a third-degree assault charge for allegedly burning another jail inmate by throwing a cup of boiling water on him.

Unconditional bail was set at $5,000. His next appearance is May 11.

According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County Sheriff's deputy was called to the jail on March 31 to investigate an assault that happened March 28. The deputy and jail officials reviewed video surveillance footage that showed Potaiah appearing to take a cup from a microwave and throw its contents on a man while both were in a stairwell. The men then engaged in a fist fight and were separated. The other inmate had large burns on his chest and neck that were treated by a doctor and rated as first- and second-degree burns. In an interview, Potaiah allegedly said the other man had touched him and that he wanted to teach the man a lesson. He also said he heated the water for two minutes in the microwave.

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