By Cara L. Dempski
MENOMONIE — Four Dunn County residents have been charged in the 2016 theft of nearly $3,000 of sound equipment from the Boyceville Fire Department’s concession stand at the Boyceville airport.
Micah Allen Minor of Wheeler, Hayley M. Chovan and Robert J. Fawcett of Boyceville, and Andrew M. Meyer were all arrested between January and February 2017 for a variety of charges relating to the case.
Minor, age 20, is charged with one count of burglary of a building or dwelling, a class F felony, and one count of receiving stolen property valued between $2,500 and $5,000, which is a class I felony. Chovan is charged with burglary of a building or dwelling. The 23-year-old is also charged with misdemeanor bail jumping, which is a class A misdemeanor.
Fawcett, age 22, was charged with receiving stolen property valued between $2,500 and $5,000, as was Meyer. The 24-year-old Meyer was also charged with one count of resisting or obstructing an officer, a class A misdemeanor.
Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin said the break in the case came when a witness stepped forward, and that person’s testimony led to the subject who purchased the stolen equipment. Lamkin and officers from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office were able to trace their way backwards from that person to the four suspects arrested.
“The initial report in July 2016 was that someone broke into the concession stand at the fire department’s tractor pull, and about $3,000 worth of speakers and sound equipment were stolen between early June and mid-July,” Lamkin explained. “There was a delay in reporting because no one was checking on the items on a regular basis.”
In criminal complaints filed by the office of the Dunn County District Attorney, Minor and Andy Helmueller, who has yet to be arrested, are alleged to have stolen several speakers and a sound control panel from the fire department’s concession stand at the Boyceville airport. Minor told Chief Lamkin during his interview that Helmueller kicked open the building’s locked door, and they both entered the stand to look around before heading back to Fawcett’s trailer, where they lived at the time.
Helmueller is alleged to have wanted to check for cameras in the area, so both he and Minor walked around the concession stand and surrounding area a second time to be certain they would not be recorded.
The criminal complaint indicates Minor contacted Chovan, and her sister Hope Chovan, to help him move the equipment to Fawcett’s home. When the sisters arrived, Helmueller allegedly told Minor to stay where he was while the trio went to retrieve the speakers and sound equipment. Minor estimated he waited 30 minutes before Hayley and Hope Chovan and Helmueller returned with the speakers.
Minor, Helmueller and both Chovans took the items to Fawcett’s trailer, though Fawcett initially denied he stored the items, or even knew they were stolen. Several days later, Meyer was called upon to deliver the equipment to a Menomonie address in return for payment.
Lamkin is still looking for two more suspects in the case, but said both live in another county and are proving difficult to find.
Minor made an initial appearance on February 14. The appearance was adjourned to April 18 at 3:30 p.m.. Chovan made her initial appearance January 31, and currently is scheduled for a pretrial conference April 11 at 2:15 p.m. Fawcett attended a February 21 initial appearance,which was adjourned until March 21 at 10:45 a.m., and Meyer’s initial appearance was February 21. He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on April 18 at 1:30 p.m.
Minor, who is already incarcerated at Dodge Correctional Institute, could face an additional 18 years, six months for a class F felony conviction, and seven years, six months imprisonment for a class I felony conviction. Both increases are due to prior felony convictions.
He was previously convicted of felony mistreatment of animals/cause of death and is also currently charged with one count of sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age as a repeat offender, and with resisting an officer, repeat offense.
In Wisconsin, a class F felony is punishable by up to 12 years, six months imprisonment, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. If the person has prior misdemeanor convictions, the term of imprisonment can increase by up to two years; the term can increase by up to six years if the person has a prior felony conviction.
Class I felonies are punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, imprisonment of no more than three years, six months, or both. A class A misdemeanor is penalized by a fine of no more than $10,000, up to nine months imprisonment, or both.