A Thief River Falls woman faces seven charges after she allegedly stole items out of five vehicles and illegally entered two garages earlier this week in Thief River Falls.
Surveillance video, a pair of shoes, and a Facebook tip tied Danielle Marie Weckwerth to the theft spree.
Weckwerth, 23, has been charged with two counts of felony first-degree burglary – dwelling, two counts of felony theft – previous conviction, and three misdemeanor counts of theft.
The charges stemmed from a series of burglaries and thefts in the same neighborhood on the east side of Thief River Falls. The crime spree occurred sometime after 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Weckwerth allegedly entered two garages. Both garages were attached garages and the families were home at the time. Weckwerth is also accused of stealing items out of five vehicles belonging to six people. The items are valued at about $1,960.
Some of the items were recovered. Among the stolen items were a Red Lake County Central School laptop computer, credit cards, a checkbook, and a cell phone. In one instance, a couple didn’t realize that someone had stolen two credit cards or a pair of prescription sunglasses out of their vehicle until police notified them.
The case came to the attention of police on the morning of Monday, Sept. 28. Someone had entered a garage at 305 Oriole Ave., according to the complaint. It was later determined that a pair of size 9 women’s Under Armour shoes were stolen out of the garage. Left behind was a pair of size 9 Champion slip-on shoes. They didn’t belong to anyone at the home. Police also learned that a pair of sunglasses and a set of keys were stolen out of the couple’s vehicle, which was parked in the driveway of the home.
While investigating the case, police posted information about the thefts on the department’s Facebook page. Police received a tip, indicating that Weckwerth and a man, who hasn’t been charged in connection with the case, were driving around the neighborhood on Monday morning.
Police also learned that a neighbor reported suspicious activity a night earlier at his home at 1517 Cartway Dr. On surveillance video, a woman could be seen walking around the garage at that location. An officer believed the woman was Weckwerth, who lives nearby and had been arrested in the past for stealing property out of vehicles and entering properties without permission.
The officer later reviewed surveillance footage from previous thefts involving Weckwerth at Walmart. Her shoes appeared to match those left behind at the Oriole Avenue property. (Weckwerth was sentenced Monday, Sept. 21 in connection to those previous thefts.) On Monday evening, the police went to Weckwerth’s home. Upon entering a bedroom to speak with Weckwerth, police allegedly saw the above man hiding. He told the police that he was trying to hide because he was nervous. Weckwerth allegedly denied being involved in the incidents, but she acknowledged her past history of thefts.
No reported stolen property was observed in plain sight in Weckwerth’s bedroom. While leaving Weckwerth’s home, an officer told her about the shoes and surveillance footage from the neighbor’s home. She soon said she was in a “weird state of mind” and didn’t remember everything that had happened. Weckwerth allegedly admitted stealing items out of a garage and some vehicles. Weckwerth later gave the officer the neighbor’s shoes, the Michael Kors sunglasses, a pack of cigarettes, three keys, a Sony speaker, a battery pack, a Motorola cell phone, and a pack of 5 Gum.
Weckwerth escorted officers to her family’s firepit where she allegedly attempted to burn stolen items. On the way there, police found a man’s credit card on the ground, $92 in cash, and a partial book of stamps. The partial remains of an RLCC School grade book were found in the firepit and collected by police. Weckwerth allegedly admitted stealing the grade book and a laptop computer from the same vehicle. She said she and the man threw the laptop computer in the river. Later, during her formal statement, Weckwerth told the police that she went for a walk since she wasn’t feeling like herself. She allegedly admitted being curious about the contents of her neighbors’ garages and vehicles. Weckwerth wasn’t sure which garages and vehicles she had entered. However, she recalled stealing a speaker, cell phone, gum, and cigarettes out of a truck and a car.
The following afternoon, Weckwerth informed the man about the stolen property and showed the items to him. She said he told her to dispose of the laptop computer. The two of them went to Finsbury Park, and he allegedly threw the computer into the river. They returned to Weckwerth’s home, where they allegedly burned the computer case and some papers that had been inside of the case. Weckwerth said she lit the fire, but the man gave her the oil to help start it. That evening, police learned of another burglary and additional thefts.
Weckwerth had allegedly entered an attached garage at 317 Oriole Ave. and rummaged through a vehicle. The family was home at the home. It was unknown if anything had been stolen. Police also learned that a laptop computer and bag had been stolen out of a vehicle parked outside of an apartment along Highway 1 East. RLCC Central School District owns the laptop computer, which is valued at $820. After finding the man’s credit card outside of Weckwerth’s home, police notified the man. He and his wife were unaware of the theft. They reported that items had been stolen out of their car parked outside of 1506 Sunrise Ct. The items included $92 in cash, a book of stamps, a $40 Ronning’s gift card, a $400 pair of prescription sunglasses, and two credit cards.
Weckwerth also allegedly stole items out of three vehicles parked outside of Sherwood Park Townhomes. Stolen was a checkbook, a Motorola G5 cell phone, a Sony speaker, cash, two packs of cigarettes, a USB battery pack, some gum, and “a cheap ring from Walmart.”