Tri-County Crimestoppers twice weekly highlights the unsolved car thefts, burglaries and break-ins in the area.  Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall joined me on WJON this week.  She described the type of legal penalties these individuals can face if convicted of these crimes.  Kendall says if the stolen items total in the thousands that would push the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.  She says

Once those rack up high enough with a number of them in a row they may get to a prison sentence but those are ranked as much lower level felonies than an assault, sexual assault or something like that.

Kendall says there is a scale of 1 to 10 and these type of offenses range in the 1 to 4 range with 10 being the most severe.  She says if conflicted of these types of crimes there could be some jail time but the Stearns County jail is full of violent offenders right now.  Kendall says because of this the county is in the process of studying to determine how big of a jail they need to accommodate more prisoners.  She says the public's cooperation with ring cameras have really helped in proving what is really going on with these offenses.  Kendall says sentencing guidelines determine length of jail time.

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I asked Kendall who is committing these vehicle thefts and burglaries and she says it's a combination of frequent offenders and those committing crimes of opportunity checking for unlocked doors.

Trespass is a misdemeanor offense when someone goes onto someone's property without permission.  Kendall says most people don't know that it doesn't become trespass unless you ask the person to leave and if they don't it can be trespass.  She says it is important to report suspected trespass when you see it.  Kendall says if people are trespassing they are typically going to commit a more serious crime.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Janelle Kendall it is available below.



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