Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Church burglar jailed


Matthew Charpenter

A 42-year-old Moose Lake man is in jail following the December 18 burglary of Zion Lutheran Church in Cloverdale.

According to the Pine County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) complaint, the morning of December 19, the PCSO was dispatched to a Kerrick address to check the welfare of a suicidal male, identified as Matthew John Charpenter.

Throughout the attempt to locate Charpenter, it was discovered he had sent texts admitting to breaking into the church located on County Road 48 at the intersection of County Road 41, Zion Lutheran Church. Texts detailed the burglary and identified electronics hidden under a tarp in the woods as well as a safe with $1,000, the complaint states.

Deputies located Charpenter at Essentia Hospital in Sandstone, where he was receiving care for a cut on his hand. Upon the arrival of deputies to the hospital, Charpenter admitted to burglarizing the church, stating he cut his hand on a door during the burglary. A bag containing stolen items was in Charpenter's possession.

The investigation revealed the church had been entered and the pastor's office door had been pried open. Items were taken from the office, storage room and main sanctuary. Blood was located on a door and a screwdriver was located next to a door believed to be used by the burglar to carry property outside. A safe and other items were located in the woods to the north of the church covered by a sheet.

The bag Charpenter had in his possession was determined to have been stolen from the employee locker room at Grand Casino in Hinckley December 18. Casino surveillance footage shows Charpenter entering the locker room and leaving with the bag. Charpenter denied taking the bag.

Charpenter faces a felony charge of burglary in the second degree - government, religious, historic or school building - without consent and commits crime; a felony theft charge; and a gross misdemeanor theft charge.


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