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Minnesota teen facing burglary charges for schoolhouse break-in

A 17-year-old from Waseca, Minnesota, was recently charged with three counts of burglary. The teen is accused of breaking into a schoolhouse on the Waseca County Fairgrounds in order to steal beer and other items. He supposedly had another juvenile break in with him, but that juvenile was under the age of 16 and charged in juvenile court. 

The burglary dates back to last summer. The Waseca County Sheriff's Office owns and operates the schoolhouse on the fairgrounds. The Fraternal Order of Police use this space to hold meetings. Members reportedly do not stock the schoolhouse with alcohol, but members can bring their own alcohol. The sheriff claims there is no alcohol in the building except when there are meetings. 

However, the teen who is under the age of 16 -- who talked to police about the break-in -- said he and the 17-year-old brought backpacks with them in order to bring the beer home. There was reportedly also a second break-in.

Aside from beer, the 17-year-old claims a number of items, including soda, police tape, crossing guard vests and orange flags were also taken from the schoolhouse.

In looking at this case, while no one would argue that what the teens supposedly did was OK, one could see how this teens probably did not realize at the time just how serious the consequences could be. Basically, while breaking in to a building is certainly illegal, this does not sound like the story of hardened criminals. In fact, when asked why the 17-year-old even wanted to break in to the schoolhouse in the first place, the other teen involved said it was to prove it could be done and to get beer and McDonald's coupons. Both of these are clearly juvenile responses.

However, with the 17-year-old being charge in Waseca County Court, if found guilty the burglary charges could have a significant impact on his future. Just like any type of theft crimes, a burglary conviction comes with it a social stigma that can end up negatively impacting educational and employment opportunities, which is why it is always a good idea to contact a defense attorney with experience handling juvenile cases in order to explore the different options that may be available. 

Source: Waseca County News, "Waseca teen facing felony burglary charges," Jennifer Holt, May 23, 2013

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