Marshall man sent to prison for church burglaries

Thefts from two churches, in addition to other thefts in two counties, have led to concurrent prison sentences for a Marshall man. In addition, Neal Redepenning was sentenced to jail time on several other charges .

Neal Redepenning.jpg

MADISON — A Marshall man has been sentenced to concurrent prison sentences for a series of burglaries last winter which included thefts from two churches.

Neal Ryan Redepenning, 42, was sentenced last week to 17 months on a Lac qui Parle County charge of possession of stolen property and 29 months in prison for a Yellow Medicine County charge of burglaries at churches in Echo and Wood Lake. He was given credit for 238 days already served in jail, about eight months.

State law requires that prisoners spend at least two-thirds of a sentence in custody and may spend the remaining time on supervised release.

In plea agreements, Redepenning pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in a theft from one of the churches, and a second burglary charge was dismissed.

He pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property for being in possession of items from church burglaries that were valued at more than $10,000. Burglary and drug charges related to that arrest were dismissed.


Redepenning also received 90-day jail sentences on another felony charge and several misdemeanor charges having to do with other thefts and drug possession charges. One misdemeanor charge was dismissed.

Redepenning had been charged with the two church break-ins in February, thefts from the school bus garage in Dawson in February and thefts from a home and garage in Dawson in January.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wood Lake reported a burglary on 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 on Feb. 17 at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Echo. Four brass offering plates, a brass altar cross, cash and a Carhart jacket were missing.

Witnesses identified Redepenning as the person who had stolen two rolls of copper electrical wire, used copper wire, $75 in spare change and a variety of clothing and household items from the home and garage in Dawson Jan. 16. Food from the refrigerator, cupboards and freezer was reported missing, too.

A welder, a torque wrench and other tools were reported stolen from the Dawson bus garage Feb. 18.

Surveillance video tied Redepenning to the bus garage theft. He denied having been in Dawson and consented to a search of his truck, where authorities found items from the church burglaries.

When questioned by officers from the 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 wasn’t sure where he’d gotten the candlesticks.


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

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: or phone 320-214-4340
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