We don't mean to give advice on how to commit a crime – especially when it's fairly serious, like in this case we're about to explain – but maybe don't brag about what you did if you don't want to get caught.
In a Monday morning news release, the Isanti County Sheriff's Office said two men have been charged in a series of church burglaries in the area. Part of the reason they were caught? One of the guys had been bragging about it.
Three churches were hit sometime between the night of June 20 and the morning of June 21, the sheriff's office says. According to the criminal complaint, it sounds like Long Lake Lutheran Church got the worst of it.
Officers were called to the church around 8 a.m. on June 21, where they found several broken windows, damaged doors, and the church office ransacked. A safe and its contents – $75 in cash, a $10,000 check (which they later shredded), credit cards, and gift cards – had been stolen.
And apparently the vandals weren't in much of a rush, because according to the complaint, officers found that they'd cooked macaroni and cheese in the church kitchen and drank the communion wine from two wine glasses.
Investigators found the church van had been driven through a chain link fence and crashed into a flag pole. The vandals had also done some doughnuts with the van in the church's softball field, the charges say.
How the suspects were found
According to the charges:
It wasn't long into the investigation when officers got a tip that 19-year-old Danny Carl Croon Jr. had been bragging about doing some church break-ins where he stole a few safes. Additionally, investigators found that Croon's girlfriend had used a stolen gift card at a nearby Starbuck's.
Croon Jr. was already in jail for burglarizing Isanti Retail Meats on July 12. Investigators went to the jail to interview Croon the next day, where he gave a full confession, saying he and his friend – 19-year-old Robert William Noonan – had gone on the crime spree after a night of playing softball and drinking.
Croon said they hit New Beginnings Church first, then another church in East Bethel before ending up at Long Lake Lutheran Church. Besides the safes from each church, they'd also stolen two guitars, a flat screen TV, two laptop computers, a couple money bags, and several boxes of macaroni and cheese.
Noonan also confessed to investigators, saying they were "kids being dumb kids." Investigators found all of the stolen goods still in the trunk of his car.
Both are charged with burglary, damage to property, and theft of a motor vehicle.