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Burglars Get a Biblical LessonSubmitted: 04/26/2013
Story By Lex Gray


MERRILL - Three men will sit in the Lincoln County jail this weekend while they wait to be charged in a string of burglaries Friday morning.

The burglaries happened on East Main Street in Merrill.

Merrill Police can't release many details yet, including their names.

So far, we've learned from neighbors they stole an F-150 truck and something they probably didn't expect to.

"God does work in mysterious ways sometimes," said Clifford Baker, who lives on East Main Street.

It seems that both God and three burglars were at work in Baker's neighborhood early this morning.

"About 5:30 this morning, my brother went down to let his dog out before he went to work and noticed his truck was gone," said Baker's neighbor, Amy Laflin. "He called the police right away, they showed up a few minutes later responding to a number of calls in the area."

Laflin called Baker around 6:30 to tell him about the robbery, but it wasn't until about two hours later he noticed the burglars had come to his property, too.

"They were actually in our garage and in our vehicles, and that's a little unnerving, because they're not invited and then they helped themselves to things they thought were important which are important to us," Baker said.

The burglars Baker's SUV, probably thinking that the backpacks inside had laptops. But they were in for a little surprise.

"Well we are Jehovah's Witnesses, and what we had in our vehicles that were taken were our book bags that we carry with us when we go out in the door-to-door ministry," he said. "I'm assuming that the perpetrators that got into the vehicles, when they saw the bags, of course they're laptop computer bags, they probably assumed there were laptops in the bags and off they went with them. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't laptops."

By 9:15 Friday, police found Laflin's brother's car in Shawano County. They also have Baker's backpacks, but they're holding them for evidence.

Maybe they got the news that we often try to spread from door-to-door," Baker said. "As long as we have our things back, we're content with that."

The three suspects are due in Lincoln County Court Monday afternoon.

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The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

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As fire crews were arriving, additional calls came in reporting fires near County Road C.

A short time later, another fire was reported north of County Road S.

That fire got into heavier brush, and parts of the road had to be shut down.

It took firefighters nearly an hour to put out the flames and check for hot spots.

The cause of the fires is not known yet.

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