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19-year-old from Willmar, Minn., charged with stealing more than $2,000 from employer

WILLMAR — Andrew Charles Wyman, 19, of Willmar, made his first appearance Wednesday on a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing more than $2,200 from his employer. He allegedly used the money to buy a four-wheeler and accessories.

Unconditional bail was set at $30,000. Wyman’s next appearance is Dec. 31 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

The court appearance was Wyman’s second time through the county courthouse this week. On Monday, District Judge Kathryn N. Smith ordered Wyman back to the secure unit of Prairie Lakes Youth Programs for violating the rules in the non-secure program at the center.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Wyman was in custody in the Kandiyohi County Jail.

Wyman was originally sentenced in September 2011 to the Prairie Lakes Youth facility on arson, burglary and theft charges for his role in the two-week crime spree of stealing and destroying vehicles and setting fire to an occupied Willmar home in May 2011.

Wyman and his accomplice, Chase John Hodapp, 20, of Willmar, were both charged with multiple felony counts after the crime spree. Wyman was sentenced to a juvenile sentence, and an adult sentence of 75 months in prison was stayed. Hodapp was sentenced, as an adult, to 39 months in prison in the case. Both were ordered to pay thousands in restitution.

During his Monday hearing related to the rules violations at Prairie Lakes, Smith noted that Wyman had violated the rules by having a cell phone and by being absent from his workplace. Wyman said during the hearing that he had been fired from his job, but Wyman claimed his employer told him he did not let Wyman go because of missing money.

According to the theft complaint, Wyman allegedly took $2,293 from Mr. B Chocolatier over the course of a week in November. Officials at the business reported to Willmar police on Dec. 6 that they suspected Wyman, who started working at the chocolate shop on Nov. 1.

The blue bank bag containing both checks and cash for deposit was discovered missing Nov. 28 and was eventually found in the bottom of a garbage bin that was accessible to only Wyman and the two people reporting the theft. The checks and deposit slips from the bag were eventually located hidden in a calendar, but the cash from the deposits was never located.

Also included in the complaint is that Wyman had disappeared from work, leaving and not coming back from his meal break, on the evening of Nov. 29. The owner of the business learned later that Wyman had purchased a four-wheeler from a man that evening for $500.

Wyman claimed he got the money for the four-wheeler from a relative, but the relative told Wyman’s probation agent that he did not give Wyman the money.

Wyman was also found in possession of a jacket and helmet and claimed the items belonged to someone else, who was going to pick up the items. That individual was interviewed by police and said Wyman told him the items were a Christmas present. The man also said Wyman would not tell him from whom he bought the four-wheeler and that Wyman said he got the money for the four-wheeler from selling drugs with Hodapp.

When Wyman was interviewed on Dec. 7, he claimed he did not know there was cash inside the bank deposit bag. He allegedly admitted that he did buy the four-wheeler, but said it was bought with the drug sale money. He allegedly told the officer he had hidden $950 in cash in a tin box under the rocks near the bridge along 19th Avenue near the local Wal-Mart.

The officer went to the motor sports business that sold the items, where the manager scanned the stock-keeping unit and connected the item number to a receipt listing the cash purchase of $260.71 in items, including a jacket, helmet, goggles and a DVD. The manager also identified Wyman as the person who returned an item during the transaction.

The investigating officer also located photos of large amounts of cash on a cell phone that Wyman was allowed to use by his employer. The cash included $50s, $5s and $1 bills.

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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