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Cops on alert from $25K Wis. fireworks theft arrest 4 men allegedly packing burglary tools

Officers on alert following a $25,000 fireworks theft in Somerset arrested a group of Twin Cities men in June after they arrived in the middle of the night outside a St. Croix County fireworks store in trucks allegedly packed with tools to commit a burglary.

St. Croix County prosecutors charged the men, St. Paul residents Trimell C. Chamberlain, 30, and Walter Davis, 36, along with Minneapolis residents Robert Fleming, 45, and Jerry Harris, 27, with possession of burglarious tools as party to a crime and trespassing.

According to a criminal complaint:

A Hammond police officer on patrol around 2 a.m. June 30 spotted two vehicles, a box truck and an SUV, driving toward Hammond. The officer noted a box truck was suspected in a Somerset burglary the previous week that resulted in more than $25,000 in stolen fireworks.

The officer turned off his squad’s headlights and followed the vehicles to an area near Uncle Mike’s Fireworks. As the vehicles turned around the parking lot, the officer activated his emergency lights and a spotlight.

The officer held the SUV’s occupants at gunpoint until backup arrived. Harris, a passenger clad in all black in the SUV, was later found with a black stocking cap in his sweatshirt pocket, along with a pair of black rubber gloves in his sweatpants.

Meanwhile, a St. Croix County sheriff’s K-9 deputy was summoned to track the occupants of the box truck, which had driven off.

The truck was found elsewhere in the parking lot and the occupants, Davis and Fleming, were found hiding in nearby weeds.

Inspection of the SUV turned up pry bars, drills, saws, hammers, bolt cutters and black rubber gloves.

“All of the other tools listed above are common when breaking and entering to steal property,” the complaint states.

Harris was the only one of the four suspects who spoke with officers. He told police they were going to change a tire but their GPS device got them lost.  

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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