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Colfax man charged with breaking into Balsam Street home pleads not guilty

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE   —  A 29-year-old Colfax man charged in connection with a burglary at a house in Colfax on Balsam Street in December has pleaded not guilty.

Donald J. Binder, who was in custody at the time of the March 13 court hearing, appeared with his attorney, Samantha Richie, before Judge James Peterson.

Binder waived the reading of the criminal complaint, waived his right to a speedy trial, and pleaded not guilty.

Binder is charged with two Class H felonies of burglary to a building or a dwelling and bail jumping.

Richie filed a motion with the court January 23 to dismiss the count of bail jumping.

Along with Binder, David A. Berg, 36, also is charged with a Class F felony of burglary to a building as a party to the crime for the same alleged burglary.

In a separate case, Binder is charged with three misdemeanors of criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct and bail jumping for causing damage at the Colfax Laundromat while allegedly looking for coins underneath the washing machines.

According to the criminal complaint, a Colfax resident had contacted the Colfax Police Department about his observation of two male subjects, who are known to live in the apartment building on First Avenue in Colfax behind Express Mart, possibly entering a residence on Balsam Street the evening of December 13.

The two men were described as one large, with short hair or bald, and the other as a “skinny white male with no teeth.”

The officer on duty knew the subjects as Donald Binder and David Berg from previous law enforcement contacts, the complaint states.

The Colfax police officer contacted the homeowner several days later. When asked if he had noticed anything missing, the homeowner said he had noticed change that had been on his dresser had a large amount missing from it. The pile of change was described as being eight inches wide in a circle and two or three inches high. The homeowner said he did not know how much change in been in the pile but only a few coins remained, the complaint states.  

During the March 13 hearing, Richie asked the burglary case to continue with the misdemeanor case pertaining to alleged damage at the Colfax Laundromat.

Binder is scheduled for another court hearing in Dunn County May 7.

Berg is scheduled for another court hearing on March 22.

Bail was set for Binder December 18 with a $2,000 signature bond, while bail was set for Berg with a $1,000 signature bond.

Binder was convicted in 2015 of stealing railroad iron from the Colfax Railroad Museum that was intended to be used in restoring train cars. He was ordered by the court to pay $7,000 in restitution but has not yet paid any of the money.

A review hearing for the restitution is scheduled March 26 in Dunn County Circuit Court.