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Police: White man confesses to Willmar flag burning, to be charged soon

WILLMAR — The Willmar Police have secured a confession from a 40-year-old white male for burning U.S. flags at two downtown Willmar businesses.

According to a post on the department’s Facebook page, the man, a local resident who will not be named until he is formally charged, confessed Thursday to burning both flags at their separate locations on June 1.

The man was identified within the department as a person of interest and a possible suspect within a few days after receiving the original reports. However, to prevent any false accusations a diligent police investigation continued.

With the assistance of the State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which provided services in the area of video enhancement, investigators were able to gain enough evidence to properly interview the suspect, who then confessed to the crimes.

An official arrest was not made because the crimes stemming from these incidents were un-witnessed misdemeanors. The name of the suspect will be released in the next few days after formal charges have been filed.

The post also included thanks to the citizens who provided valuable information and to the BCA for providing technological assistance.

The two incidents happened June 1 at Kitchen Fair, along the 300 block of Fifth Street Southwest, and at the Midas Auto station, along the 700 block of Litchfield Avenue Southwest. The video footage was recorded just after 1 a.m. that morning and the incidents were reported as the owners and managers of the businesses discovered the damage later that morning.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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