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Public ‘key’ in arrest of burglary suspect

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Thanks to tips from the public, Cloquet Police already arrested the man they believe broke into Northwood’s Credit Union Arena the night of July 4 and stole at least “a couple thousand” dollars from an ATM machine inside, according to Detective Derek Randall.

Randall, who coordinates social media and public outreach for the Cloquet Police Department (CPD), posted photos taken from surveillance footage with a call for help Monday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, police had already received seven or eight calls identifying the man.

“The majority of the calls were from the Grand Rapids area,” CPD Detective Darrin Berg on Wednesday. “Then we started getting calls from law enforcement agencies in that area too, telling us the same name.”

Based on all the calls, Berg said Cloquet detectives Randall and Scott Holman traveled to the Grand Rapids area Tuesday where they located the 32-year-old suspect and interviewed him. (Because the man hasn’t been formally charged in court yet, police are not officially releasing his name.)

After seeing the evidence against him, Berg said the man ultimately admitted to committing the crime.

“How can you fight [all that evidence]?” Berg said. “He knew he was in a pickle.”

Berg said the suspect told the detectives he was familiar with the layout of of the hockey arena because he had worked there when he was an inmate with the Willow River Challenge Incarceration Program. Berg said the man acted alone in the burglary.

The detective gave kudos to the public for the quick apprehension of the suspect.

“The photos went out and the calls came in,” he said. “The public, in this particular case, was the key to it all. And we appreciate it very much.”

The suspect was transported to the Carlton County Jail Tuesday, where he is being held pending formal charges, expected on Thursday, July 10.