By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A Dunn County judge has scheduled an arraignment hearing June 25 for a 37 year-old Colfax man charged with three felony counts of burglary.
Danny E. Davis waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court June 11, and Judge Rod W. Smeltzer found probable cause and bound Davis over for trial.
Davis is charged with three Class F felony counts of burglary in connection with break-ins at houses in the Town of Otter Creek, the Town of Menomonie and the Town of Colfax.
Judge Smeltzer set a $5,000 cash bail for Davis May 29, and at the time of the June 11 preliminary hearing, Davis remained in custody at the Dunn County jail.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman who was watching a house for a resident in the Town of Otter Creek reported to the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department on March 18 she had noticed the kitchen window screen had been removed and the window was standing open.
The woman contacted the homeowner about what could be missing from the house and reported to sheriff’s deputies that two plastic bags full of coins and cash totaling about $200 were no longer in the master bedroom.
The Dunn Count Sheriff’s Department received a report of another burglary on March 28 at a house in the Town of Menomonie. The homeowner reported a small safe was missing and that the last time he had opened the safe was March 26. The safe contained five vehicle titles, two land titles, cash, a marriage license, a passport and several thousand dollars worth of United States Savings Bonds, according to the complaint.
Deputies initially could find no signs of forced entry to the home, but later on, the homeowner reported he had found what appeared to be a scuff mark from something like a credit card on weather trim near the lock on the front door, the complaint states.
Several days later, neighbors near the Town of Menomonie house that had been burglarized reported they had noticed a silver pickup truck in the driveway around the time the alleged burglary would have occurred, according to the complaint.
The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department received a telephone call from Colfax Police Chief William Anderson on May 22. Police Chief Anderson reported he’d had a conversation with a probation agent who said he had information about recent burglaries committed by Danny Davis.
A woman who had talked to the probation agent reported Davis had bragged about stealing a safe from a house. Davis said he had burned all of the important paperwork in the safe and had taken $4,500 in cash. The stolen safe had been observed in the back seat of Davis’s pickup truck, according to the complaint.
Davis also had told the woman he had committed another burglary in the Town of Colfax and had entered the house through a back window. In the house, he had found an unlocked safe and bragged he had stolen $3,000 from the safe. Davis had said, too, he had stolen semi-truck rims and car batteries from a previous employer, Sundstrom’s Septic Services in Colfax. The woman had observed the tire rims and batteries under a blue tarp in the back of Davis’s silver pickup truck. Davis said he had sold the rims and batteries to a recycling yard, according to the complaint.
The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department handled a property complaint on May 19 in which an individual had reported finding the door of a safe in Felland Park near Colfax. The safe door was from a Century brand safe and had pry marks on it. The serial number on the door confirmed the safe was from a burglary, according to the complaint.
Dunn County deputies arrested Davis at his place of employment in Colfax, and after being taken to the Dunn County jail and read his Miranda rights, Davis said he has severe addictions and that most of the time when he committed crimes, “he was under hallucinations from the drugs.”
Davis told investigators, “I just know I threw a safe in the river” at Felland Park near Colfax, the complaint states.
Davis told investigators during one burglary, he had been driving his brother’s vehicle and had entered the house through the back door. Davis said the burglary “was completely random” and that he had knocked on the door a few times, and when no one answered, he went in through the unlocked door and found a safe with cash and coins. Davis said he had traded some of the stolen coins to a drug dealer and pawned other coins at a pawn shop in Eau Claire, according to the complaint.
Davis admitted to stealing truck rims and batteries from Sundstrom’s shop and also told investigators about breaking into a home that investigators believe was the house in the Town of Otter Creek. Davis said he was driving his silver truck and had his girlfriend’s son with him, the complaint states.
When investigators contacted Sundstrom, they learned in addition to the truck rims and batteries, Sundstrom also had been missing two Honda generators valued at about $1,500 each.
When investigators spoke to the young man, he said Davis had said, “I need to make some money. I’m going to rob a house.” Davis broke in and came out of the house with coffee jugs full of change, gold-colored dollar coins, a piggy bank and some cheap jewelry, the complaint states.
The young man said he had been on another burglary with Davis to a house which matched the description of the house in Otter Creek. Davis stole loose change from the residence and said he had burglarized the same house in the past, according to the complaint.
Burglary of a building or a dwelling is a Class F felony that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of a fine of up to $25,000 and/or a prison sentence of 12 years and six months.