Weather Forecast


Woodbury burglar nabbed with citizen's help sentenced

A Woodbury burglary suspect collared with the help of the victim was sentenced last month to six months in jail.

Richard Balfour, 21, was convicted Feb. 10 of first-degree burglary and felony theft as part of a plea agreement. Washington County District Court Judge Mary Hannon sentenced him at the same hearing to the jail stay, which includes a 20-year probationary term and a $50 fine.

Woodbury police were first alerted to the case in August 2009 when Woodbury resident Brian Cludy reported a burglary at his residence, where a digital camera, camera equipment and cash were stolen.

Cludy conducted his own search on three days later and found a post by a man named "Richard" advertising a camera that matched Cludy's. Cludy called the man - who was unaware he was speaking to the victim - and expressed interest in buying the camera.

Next, Cludy called Woodbury police, who identified the suspect on Craigslist as Balfour. A Woodbury detective arranged an undercover buy in the Gold's Gym parking lot, where he purchased the camera from Balfour.

Balfour was arrested and his vehicle was searched. Police discovered the car contained 42 allegedly stolen items from multiple cases in the area.

A search of Balfour's house turned up five more items reported stolen.

Balfour later admitted to numerous thefts from vehicles.

Police later matched the stolen property with 17 different theft and burglary cases.

Cludy's efforts in the case drew praise in 2010 from Woodbury police, who presented him with the Kargel Award - a recognition bestowed on someone who performs extraordinary acts in the public safety realm.

"The bottom line," Woodbury Public Safety Director Lee Vague told Cludy at the 2010 awards ceremony, "is we never would have caught this guy without your work."

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072