Click the image to the right to see images of the suspects along with scene photos.
Four men are now in the Marathon County jail accused in a string of Weston area church burglaries. The men were arrested in connection with six burglaries that happened last week.
They include: 19-year-old Dustin Groff of Rothschild, 18-year-old Ryan Hull of Weston, 18-year-old Derik Kraft of Ringle and 18-year-old Collin Pfingsten of Rothschild. In addition to Burglary and Attempted Burglary charges, Groff and Pfingsten may also face drug charges.
Everest Metro Police Department detectives recovered some of the property stolen from the churches through two search warrants at a motel in Rothschild. They also seized a vehicle as evidence. Patrol Seargent Mark Klemm says that warrant came following a tip from an individual in the area. Klemm says that tip is what really got the case rolling, eventually leading to the arrest of all four men by Saturday morning.
The churches include Mount Olive, Bethany Baptist, St. Mark's, New Hope Community, Highland Community, and St. Agnes Church. In each case, police say someone broke in and took money or other property.
Newschannel 7 had a chance to speak with Bethany Baptist Church Pastor, Kim Swenson about the incident. Swenson says, "It feels kind of strange. It's like you have been violated, it's kind of a strange feeling I've never had that before." Swenson also tells us that the church prayed for the suspects in Sunday morning's services. He says he is glad they have been caught, but he hopes they have learned and will begin a better life following the break-ins.
Everest Metro detectives worked the Rothschild Police Department and the Marathon County Sheriff's Department in making the arrests.