Two men have been charged in connection with burglaries of two area churches.
The burglaries occurred on June 21 at Long Lake Lutheran Church in Bradford Township and New Beginnings Church in Cambridge Township.
Danny Carl Croon Jr. and Robert William Noonan, both 19, from Athens Township, were charged July 14 before Judge P. Hunter Anderson in Isanti County District Court in Cambridge.
Croon and Noonan were charged with felonies second-degree burglary of a religious building, first-degree property damage and theft of a motor vehicle. Bail for Croon was set at $50,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions, and his next court appearance was set for July 26. Bail for Noonan was set at $14,000 without conditions or $7,000 with conditions, and his next court appearance was set for Aug. 3.
Many of the items taken in the burglary were located and will be returned to the churches.
According to a press release from the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office: “These cases were solved with the help of the victims and their attention to detail as they reported these crimes, and finally due to Deputy Brandon Oliver and Investigator Rob Bowker’s relentless work in following up on leads and putting the puzzle together. Oliver had followed up on a lead that involved the use of a gift card that was stolen from one of the burglaries. Oliver learned the gift card was used at an area business. Oliver recovered surveillance footage of one of the suspect’s girlfriend using the stolen card, which led back to the suspect. It was follow-up on these small leads that helped solve the case.”
The press release stated Bowker had received information that Croon was bragging about doing some break-ins at area churches. Bowker then learned Croon had been arrested for a burglary at Isanti Retail Meats in Isanti and was in custody at the Isanti County Jail.
The press release also stated a third suspect was interviewed and released pending more investigation.
According to the criminal complaint:
On June 21, Isanti County law enforcement officers were dispatched to Long Lake Lutheran Church. Deputies Tyler Johnson and Brandon Oliver met with the reporting party, who said the church was burglarized between 8:30 p.m. June 20 and 7:30 a.m. June 21.
The officers inspected the church and observed several windows to the church were broken out, multiple doors were damaged and the church office was damaged. The reporting party explained a safe with $75 in cash, a $10,000 check, credit cards and gift cards had been stolen. Damage to the church and grounds exceeded $1,000.
The officers also determined a church-owned van had been driven around the church softball field. The van was used to do “doughnuts” on the ball field and was driven through a chain link fence, and a flag pole was also damaged. The van was located on the property and was extremely dirty, exhibited scratches and scuff marks on the front bumper and the passenger side mirror was broken and shattered.
As the investigation progressed, Bowker received information that Croon had been bragging he had done church break-ins and had stolen safes from churches. Additionally, Bowker confirmed a gift card stolen from Long lake Lutheran Church had been used in Cambridge by Croon’s girlfriend.
On July 12, Bowker learned Croon had been arrested by the Isanti Police Department for burglarizing Isanti Retail Meats.
On July 13, Bowker interviewed Croon at the Isanti County Jail. Under Miranda, Croon said on June 21 he and Noonan had been playing church softball. After softball, they began drinking and were driving around Cambridge. Noonan drove them to Long Lake Lutheran Church.
Croon and Noonan went inside where they found a couple of baseball bats. They took the baseball bats to the New Beginnings Church and Noonan used the bat to break the window in the back door of the church. Croon also picked up a rock and threw it through the church window.
Croon explained Noonan went into the church office and found some cash and broke the safe loose from a wall. They placed the safe in the trunk of Noonan’s car. They also stole a guitar, a TV and a laptop computer. At Croon’s house, he and Noonan shredded a $10,000 check that was in the safe. Croon said the stolen items are still in the trunk of Noonan’s car.
On July 13, Bowker interviewed Noonan at the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office. Under Miranda, Noonan said he and Croon were in Cambridge and had been drinking. Croon asked Noonan if he wanted to make some money. They started with the church north of Perkin’s in Cambridge (New Beginnings Church), then they went to a church in East Bethel, and then they went to a church in Long Lake (Long Lake Lutheran Church). Noonan said at New Beginnings Church, Croon threw a brick through the window and they went inside. Another person acted as a look-out. Noonan said they were inside of the church and stole a laptop computer from the church and cash from a collection box.
After the New Beginnings Church, Noonan said they went to a church off of Highway 47 in East Bethel. Noonan said they entered the church through a broken window.
After East Bethel, Noonan said Croon wanted to do another church so they went to Long Lake Lutheran Church. Noonan said Croon threw a brick through a window and they went inside. Noonan found a lock box with keys and opened the church office door. Noonan said he found $40 to $50 in cash in the office. Noonan said they stole the safe, a laptop computer and two guitars. He said some of the items are in the trunk of his car. Noonan said Croon found the keys to the church van and they both drove the vehicle on the softball field.
Noonan gave Bowker consent to remove the stolen items from the trunk of Noonan’s vehicle.
Accordingly, Bowker recovered two guitars, a flat screen TV, two laptop computers, a money bag with checks issued to New Beginnings Church, a money bag containing a check card and check issued to Long Lake Lutheran Church and other miscellaneous items.