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

This is the records summary for May 29.

Fires

LITCHFIELD — The Litchfield Fire Department responded Tuesday evening to a report of a bulldozer on fire in a ditch half a mile south of the intersection of county roads 16 and 31 in Harvey Township.

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 Lance Piepenburg of Litchfield told authorities he was clearing trees with his Komatsu bulldozer when he noticed smoke coming from under the seat and called 911. The Litchfield Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire. The loss was estimated at approximately $16,000.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

Break-ins

PENNOCK — An apparent break-in was reported Tuesday at a home on Dakota Avenue in Pennock. A window was broken and the interior alarm set off. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

District Court, Kandiyohi County

- Wilber Ernesto Cerritos Molina, 35, of Willmar made his first court appearance Wednesday on a felony charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.

He is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $150,000 bail. His next court appearance is June 9.

A warrant for Molina’s arrest was filed in November 2013. He was arrested Tuesday.

Molina is accused of using his finger to penetrate a 9-year-old girl’s vagina. The assault came to light in a social worker’s interview of the girl in October 2013, when she was 12, according to court records.

The girl told the social worker that she had been sexually assaulted by the man at her home in Willmar and that her brother had seen it happen. She also said she had told her mother about it at the time.

When interviewed, the mother said the girl had told her about the alleged abuse. She said Molina was deported to El Salvador for another sex crime conviction but had returned to the United States again.

- Tabatha Espelien, 24, of New London made her first court appearance on a felony theft charge Wednesday.

She is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $25,000 bail. Her application for a public defender was approved.

Espelien is accused of stealing a more than $1,100 worth of electronic equipment in February from a rural Paynesville home where she had been staying with her boyfriend. The items included two surround sound systems, an X-Box system and 60 games for it, a 50-inch large flat-screen TV and multiple CDs and DVDs.

According to court records, Espelien denied stealing the items when she was interviewed by authorities.

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