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Marshall man faces multiple charges for church burglaries, other western Minn. thefts

The investigation into one crime tied the suspect to another. A Marshall man is accused of multiple burglaries including two at churches.

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Neal Ryan Redepenning
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MADISON — A Marshall man faces felony burglary and theft charges in two counties in connection with a series of winter burglaries.

Neal Ryan Redepenning, 41, is in custody in the Yellow Medicine County Jail, charged with allegedly stealing from two churches and a school bus garage. He has several open misdemeanor cases, too.

He appeared last week in Lac qui Parle County District Court and will have a settlement conference March 2 on both the Yellow Medicine and Lac qui Parle cases.

Redepenning faces a felony receiving stolen property charge for his alleged involvement in Feb. 18 thefts from the school bus garage in Dawson.

In connection with the church burglaries, he faces two felony charges of second-degree burglary for entering a government, religious, historic or school building without consent.

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After the church thefts, the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office posted information about the stolen property on its Facebook page.

In the course of investigating the bus garage burglary, the Dawson-Boyd Police Department identified Redepenning as a suspect and discovered some of the missing church items in a search of his truck.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wood Lake reported a burglary Feb. 14. Items stolen included a model red Farmall tractor, two candle holders, a silver tea set and a pair of silver pitchers.

Another burglary was reported Feb. 17 at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Echo. Four brass offering plates, a brass altar cross, cash and a Carhartt jacket were missing.

On Feb. 18, the Dawson school bus garage burglary was reported. Items stolen included a welder valued at $750, a torque wrench worth $500, and a variety of other tools.

Dawson-Boyd police officials viewed surveillance video from surrounding businesses and saw a silver Chevrolet pickup at the garage in the early morning. The license plate tied Redepenning and his pickup to the church crimes, too.

When police interviewed Redepenning, he at first said he had not been in Dawson and had not stolen anything.

He agreed to a search of his truck. The back seat contained clothing, tools and a toy Farmall tractor, along with a variety of other items.

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In the pickup box, authorities found church offering trays and candle holders, according to court records.

When questioned by officers from Dawson-Boyd Police Department and Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office, Redepenning told them he had taken the Farmall toy tractor from a desk in a church office. He said he thought the offering plates came from Echo but was not sure where he had gotten the candlesticks.

He said, “I was mad at God,” and could not recall what he had stolen from the churches, according to court records.

Asked what he had done with the 18-inch brass altar cross, Redepenning said he had thrown it as far as he could from a road. He said he also threw away some cups and a pitcher because “they weren’t real.” They had an estimated worth of $2,000, according to the criminal complaint. They were found in the home of Redepenning’s friend.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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