- A church burglary spree has landed five Northwoods teenagers in jail. They made their first appearances in court today. This is a group of teens, who had mostly stayed out of trouble up until now.
Mount Olive Lutheran Church was the first hit last Sunday, in what later turned into a burglary spree.
"What went through my mind first was just kind of to check and see what they did get, and what they didn't get, and how many things were damaged and not damaged," says Pastor Lance Hoelscher, from Mount Olive Lutheran Church.
The next night, just a few blocks away, the same accused burglars broke into Bethany Baptist Church.
"You feel like you've kind of been violated, is what it felt like. So, it's kind of a unique feeling when you walk inside and see that," says Pastor Kim Swenson, from Bethany Baptist Church.
When both pastors went to survey the damage they thought it might be the work of kids.
"Kind of random stuff. There's a video camera they took off the counter, but they left a $600, $700 projector sitting right next to it in the case; they left that," says Pastor Swenson.
It turns out it was a group of teens. 19-year-old Dustin Groff, 18-year-olds Ryan Hull, Derik Kraft and Collin Pfingsten and 17-year-old Alison Ullenbrauck each face felony burglary charges. The pastors initial reactions were about what anybody's would be.
"You start to get angry, and to be upset, and then and then also somewhat fearful," says Pastor Hoelscher.
But the congregations response since the burglaries isn't exactly typical of burglary victims.
"We got broke into, we lost a window, some computers, some stuff, but I mean what's going on in these kids' lives, I mean that is really the big stuff. And so, we're concerned about the kids and we're concerned about their families," says Pastor Swenson.
"They're always welcome here. You know, we would always reach out to them. And even if one of those gentlemen wanted us to come visit them, whether that be in jail, wherever that would be, we would go and we would do that," says Pastor Hoelscher.
The four young men will be back in court August 29th for preliminary hearings. The 17 year old, Ullenbrauck, will have a pre-trial in September.