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Grand Rapids man accused of multiple church burglaries

Bail was increased Thursday for a Grand Rapids man facing 15 charges related to multiple burglaries at churches across Itasca County in the past year.

Bail was increased Thursday for a Grand Rapids man facing 15 charges related to multiple burglaries at churches across Itasca County in the past year.

Danny Edward Madsen, 42, faces nine counts of second-degree burglary and six more counts relating to the church break-ins, including receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

Madsen made his first appearance Dec. 27, with bail set at $50,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions, including constant contact with his attorney and no contact with churches in the county.

On Thursday, at his third court appearance, bail was raised by $25,000 in both instances. His next appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Madsen is accused of taking items since June from churches in Grand Rapids (Calvary Pine Baptist, Itasca Bible Church), Bigfork (Grace Community Church, Assembly of God), Deer River (Independent Apostolic Church, St. Joseph's Catholic Church), Cohasset (West Cohasset Chapel), Bovey (Balsam Bible Chapel) and Pengilly (Crossroads Family Church).


"Our flat-screen TVs, a table and chair set and a sound board from our sound system was stolen," a West Cohasset Chapel representative said. "We've been praying for the guy and hoping police could find him."

He also is accused of burglarizing a cabin near Effie.

Police had been trying to solve the burglaries, which increased through the summer, since churches started reporting break-ins in June. In the fall, the Itasca County Sheriff's Office made a plea to the public for information on the growing number of break-ins.

According to the police report submitted in court, the sheriff's office received a call on Christmas night just before midnight about a possible break-in at Balsam Bible Chapel in Bovey; it wasn't the first time the church had been broken into in 2013.

A deputy near the crime scene came across a vehicle in the remote area around the church. He eventually spoke to the driver of the vehicle and its occupant after the vehicle turned around and stopped on a roadway. The passenger was Madsen.

The deputy made notes on the tracks left by the car tires and Madsen's shoes on fresh snow. The tracks matched those found at the Bovey church. A search warrant was issued the next day, and several items reported stolen at county churches were found in Madsen's home, police said. Items from a cabin burglary in early September were found, too.

The woman who was driving the vehicle the night before arrived at the home during the search warrant. Police said she agreed to give a voluntary statement and proceeded to admit to the string of church burglaries, including one in Aitkin County, police said.

The Itasca County Attorney's Office said there was no information on the status of the woman police said admitted to helping Madsen carry out the burglaries.


Items taken include TVs, video-game consoles, guitars, a safe, lawnmower, cash and furniture.

Madsen remains in Itasca County Jail, awaiting his Monday court date.

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