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Graffiti investigation sends charges on four Willmar males to county attorney

A lengthy graffiti investigation by the Willmar Police Department Street Crimes Unit has resulted in multiple cases being submitted to the Kandiyohi County Attorney's Office.

Willmar Police Department vehicle.jpg
Willmar Police Department vehicle West Central Tribune file photo

Editor's note: The dollar amounts have been corrected from a previous version of the story.

WILLMAR — The Willmar Police Department has completed an investigation into various graffiti cases dating back to 2018 and causing thousands of dollars in damages, according to a news release from Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt.

According to the release, four men have been identified in cases submitted to the Kandiyohi County Attorney's Office for prosecution.

"(No suspects) are in custody as most are juveniles and it's a non-violent crime," Felt wrote in an email.

Of those who had charges submitted to the Attorney's Office, an 18-year-old Willmar man is the suspect in the majority of cases — 35 cases with an estimated damage value in excess of $45,000. The man may also face additional charges for cases in three other cities.

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The man's name was not released as most incidents were when the individual was a juvenile, according to the release.

Others who had charges submitted to the Attorney's Office include:

  • A 17-year-old Willmar male who is a suspect in seven cases with damage estimates totaling $2,000. His name is withheld because he is a juvenile and pending formal charges.
  • A different 17-year-old Willmar male who is a suspect in one case with damaged estimates totaling $100. His name is withheld because he is a juvenile and pending formal charges.
  • A 27-year-old Willmar man who is a suspect in one case with damaged estimates totaling $425. His name was also withheld pending formal charges.

The cases, from 2018 to early 2021, involved a significant amount of time by the department's Street Crimes Unit to compile multiple cases, review security footage, obtain damage estimates and interview multiple suspects, victims and witnesses, according to the release.
The investigation also gathered evidence in neighboring jurisdictions, which was then passed along to the responsible agencies for additional possible charges.

The Willmar Police Department "would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Street Crimes Unit Detectives in helping resolve these cases. Graffiti not only causes property damage, but also affects a city’s quality of life by making an area appear rundown or threatening with the portrayal of offensive language or images," reads part of the release.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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