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Three face charges for Atwater business burglaries

WILLMAR -- Two men made their first appearances Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court on felony charges for allegedly burglarizing two Atwater businesses in October. A third man failed to appear.

Austin Thomas Klinghagen, 18, of Grove City, Damon Dwight Weiderhoft, 20, of Cosmos, and Kyle Richard Litzau, 18, of Atwater, each face seven felony charges of burglary, theft and property damage for the Oct. 15 incident. They are also charged with misdemeanor theft.

A warrant was issued for Litzau's arrest for failing to appear.

Unconditional bail was set at $25,000 for Klinghagen. Conditional bail was allowed on his personal recognizance, provided he not enter the businesses. His next appearance is Feb. 18.

Weiderhoft waived his right to an omnibus hearing and pleaded not guilty to the charges. His next appearance is a pre-trial hearing on March 9.

The same three individuals were charged in Meeker County District Court with burglary, theft and property damage for allegedly burglarizing three Grove City businesses two days after the Atwater incidents.

According to the complaint, 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, and 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 owner said he could see two of the course's golf carts in a nearby creek. Another cart was discovered near the edge of Tad Lake.

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 had also been stolen from the club, including a TV. The total value of missing items was estimated at $2,029.34.

A fourth golf cart was later found smashed into the fence at the ball field. The total damage to the carts was estimated at $4,062.

That same day, Atwater police were informed 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.

On Oct. 31, Litzau was interviewed at the Atwater Police Station. He said he and Klinghagen drove the golf carts and caused the damage. He said Weiderhoft took the television, adding all three went into the building and caused damage to it. He also admitted the three were involved in the Atwater Ag incident.

The same day, Klinghagen turned himself in to Meeker County officials and allegedly admitted involvement in the burglaries.

Weiderhoft turned himself in on Nov. 4. He claimed he was present at the Atwater burglaries, but did nothing. He admitted to storing items at his relative's residence. In a second interview, he admitted to taking the television from the golf course. He also said Klinghagen took the items from Atwater Ag while he waited outside.