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New London youth charged in connection with church chalice missing since April

WILLMAR -- An 18-year-old from New London is facing a felony charge of receiving stolen property in connection with the recovery of a gold-plated chalice reported stolen in April from a local church.

Darien Cole Frank made an initial appearance Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court on, where he was formally charged. Judge David Mennis set the bond for his release at $70,000.

The chalice apparently went missing from Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Spicer in late April. Church employees recalled seeing it used during a funeral on April 18 and then noticed three days later that it was gone. A formal report of the theft was made April 30 to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

Court records describe what happened next. A detective recalled seeing a religious-like cup in the front seat of a vehicle while executing a search warrant for an unrelated crime. The vehicle was still in the county's evidence garage, so the deputy took some photos through the passenger window and showed the pictures to church staff, who identified it as the missing chalice.

A new search warrant was then issued and executed and the cup was recovered. According to the complaint filed in court, the chalice is worth $1,150.

Frank was arrested June 4 on active warrants for other alleged offenses. Under questioning, he eventually told a detective that he obtained the chalice from a friend "so that he could have a 'pimp' cup," according to the court complaint filed against him. Frank allegedly stated he didn't know the chalice was stolen.

He's facing separate charges as well in the theft of a car from a garage in Willmar earlier this month.

Formal charges of first-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle were filed Thursday. Both charges are felonies.

The car was taken early on the morning of June 11 from an attached garage in the 2300 block of 24th Street Southwest while the owners were in the house. It was recovered in Hibbing on June 15 following a tip to the Hibbing police, who ran a license plate check that confirmed the vehicle had been reported stolen.

When questioned, Frank allegedly told authorities he had been walking around Willmar, saw an open garage door, went inside and discovered the keys were in the vehicle's ignition.

A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Monday in both the cases in which Frank has been charged. An omnibus hearing is slated July 17.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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