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17-year-old pleads to theft for stealing from vehicles on Green Lake, taking cop badge

WILLMAR -- Zachary Curtis Thompson, 17, of Burnsville, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony theft charge for his role in breaking into numerous cars parked around Green Lake and taking items from the vehicle, including two Willmar police badges.

As part of a plea agreement in Kandiyohi County District Court, a misdemeanor for motor vehicle tampering will be dismissed. The case will be transferred to Dakota County for disposition.

Thompson and Justin Tyler Stolhanske, 17, of Eagan, were both charged in connection to the thefts. Stolhanske also pleaded guilty to felony theft. His case was also transferred to Dakota County.

Felony charges against 16- and 17-year-old juveniles are public record.

According to the petitions against the teens, officers from the Mendota Heights Police Department informed the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 25 that the department had possession of two Willmar Police Department badges.

The badges, along with a large amount of suspected stolen property, were located during a traffic stop of Stolhanske's vehicle. The items included a pair of handcuffs, sunglasses, music players, a badge holder, binoculars, flashlights, knives and other small items. Also located in the vehicle was $724 in cash.

Information from the Mendota Heights department helped local officers determine that Stolhanske had been staying at County Park 5 on Green Lake. Both teens had left Aug. 24 to return to the Twin Cities.

The teens were interviewed and admitted to taking the property from vehicles parked around Green Lake.

The property was identified by the rightful owners and the total value of the property was more than $1,000.

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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