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Willmar, Minn., man pleads to theft in beer burglar case

WILLMAR -- Kevin Gene Sorenson, 50, of Willmar, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday on a misdemeanor charge for taking alcoholic beverages stored in a refrigerator in the garage.

As part of his sentence handed down by District Judge David L. Mennis in Kandiyohi County District Court, Sorenson was ordered to serve 90 days in jail, which was stayed, pay a $50 fine, serve one year of probation and follow the recommendations of a chemical use assessment.

As part of a plea agreement, a third-degree felony burglary charge was dismissed.

The charges were filed after Willmar police began investigating on Oct. 25, when the residents of a home in the northwest quadrant of the city reported that someone had entered their garage and drank a half bottle of rum and several beers that were chilling in the refrigerator. The person had left the empty rum bottle and beer cans in the refrigerator.

The residents suspected Sorenson and confronted him with the allegations. They told police that Sorenson had denied entering the garage or taking the alcohol.

The residents reported to police in early November that more beer was missing from the garage refrigerator. The Police Department installed a motion-activated camera in the garage, putting the camera directly over the refrigerator.

The images captured by the camera were reviewed after Nov. 30, when the residents reported more alcohol missing from the garage. The images showed that on Nov. 18 and Nov. 28 a man was inside the garage, and it was suspected to be Sorenson.

One of the residents picked Sorenson from a photo lineup and noted they knew he lived a few blocks from their home. When Sorenson was informed about the camera and the resulting images, he admitted to entering the unlocked garage and taking beer.

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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