Bail set at $100K for Willmar man
WILLMAR -- Unconditional bail was set at $100,000 Monday for Chase John Hodapp, the 20-year-old Willmar man charged with first-degree arson for setting fire to an occupied residence last week, and 11 other felony charges for a two-week-long strin...
WILLMAR -- Unconditional bail was set at $100,000 Monday for Chase John Hodapp, the 20-year-old Willmar man charged with first-degree arson for setting fire to an occupied residence last week, and 11 other felony charges for a two-week-long string of motor vehicle thefts, fires and property damage.
Hodapp made his first court appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court on a total of 12 felony charges including first-degree arson and burglary, plus motor vehicle theft, theft, property damage and receiving stolen property.
The crime spree reached into four neighboring counties.
His next appearance is May 16 in Kandiyohi County. Hodapp also faces a gross misdemeanor for property damage and two misdemeanors for theft.
Hodapp and Andrew Charles Wyman, 17, are charged in connection to the April 19 to May 3 crime spree. Wyman made his first court appearance on the same set of 15 charges on Friday in juvenile and is held at Prairie Lakes Detention Center. Felony matters against 16- and 17-year-old juveniles are public. In this case, prosecutors have filed a motion to have Wyman tried as an adult. The adult certification hearing is June 6.
Assistant County Attorney Dain Olson asked District Judge Michael J. Thompson for a $250,000 unconditional bail for Hodapp and noted that he poses a serious public safety risk because he set fire to an occupied dwelling.
Olson also cited "a number of very concerning behaviors" outlined in the complaint against Hodapp. He also noted that Hodapp has a juvenile offense involving arson. That information is not public record.
Hodapp and Wyman were arrested May 3 in Waite Park. According to Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels, the pair were arrested after neighbors to a gravel pit in Waite Park called law enforcement to report people operating ATVs in the pit. Officers arrived to find the defendants with a stolen pickup, trailer and ATVs. According to information from Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin, the trailer and ATVs were reported stolen from the Watkins area.
According to the criminal complaint filed with the court, the crime spree began April 19 when Willmar police officers responded to a motor vehicle crash around 5:15 a.m. along 19th Avenue Southwest. The vehicle had been rigged, with the seat belt looped through the steering wheel and a board propped on the accelerator, to proceed without a driver eastbound approximately 200 yards until it crashed into a light pole and several trees. The value of the vehicle and items inside was estimated at $6,475.
Wyman and Hodapp allegedly admitted to taking the vehicle, driving the pickup around in the country and throwing items out before setting the pickup up to drive by itself. They estimated the vehicle was traveling at 40 to 50 mph before it crashed into the pole and trees.
On April 24, the Swift County Sheriff's Office notified the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office that a burning vehicle had been located in Swift County and that a passerby had seen two males walking away. The pickup, along with tools and hunting and camping gear, had been stolen from a rural Willmar residence overnight. The value of the pickup and other items was estimated at $8,884.
The defendants were interviewed and allegedly admitted to taking the pickup because it was their intention to steal a vehicle. They said they drove around and that Wyman was driving when the vehicle crashed and rolled. Wyman told investigators they collectively decided to light the vehicle on fire to hide any evidence of their activities. Hodapp denied any involvement with starting it on fire.
The next day, April 25, another pickup was reported missing at a rural Willmar address. The vehicle was later located in the northwest portion of the county and was burned completely. The defendants allegedly admitted to driving the pickup until the transmission went out and then lighting it on fire.
On May 1, Willmar police received a report that a pickup was missing from a residence in the city and that the vehicle had been recovered in Renville County. The defendants allegedly told investigators that Wyman drove that vehicle because Hodapp didn't know how to drive a manual transmission and that they went to Redwood Falls to see Wyman's girlfriend. They left the vehicle in Renville County and stole another pickup, with which they were discovered when they were arrested in Waite Park.
The final day of the crime spree was May 3, when police were called around 4:30 a.m. to a home along the 1600 block of Ninth Street Southeast in Willmar. Someone had broken into the garage and dumped liquid and spray painted on a vehicle inside the garage. The liquids included transmission fluid, antifreeze, gear lube, mineral spirits. Driveway deicer had also been dumped on the vehicle. A propane tank and heater were missing.
The duo told investigators that they broke into the garage to get some alcohol and didn't know why they dumped the fluids on the vehicle.
That same morning, Willmar firefighters and police investigators were called to 1212 Ninth St. S.E. where fire had destroyed the attached garage and vehicles. The homeowners said they were alerted to the fire by smoke alarms around 3:15 a.m. and saw the flames.
The detective also noticed graffiti on a neighboring home.
Investigators questioned Hodapp and Wyman about the fire and they allegedly admitted to cutting the gas line on a van in the garage to get gas, spilling some fuel and then setting the gas on fire. Hodapp allegedly admitted to spraying the graffiti because he was bored while Wyman was cutting the gas line.
Finally, sheriff's deputies were called around 6:15 a.m. May 3 to the Spicer Super Stop, where a coin box in the car wash had been pried open and the coins removed. Surveillance video showed the pair damaging the box and taking the coins. The pair allegedly admitted to committing the crime.