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Afton, Minn., man accused of burglarizing garage for parts to fix his wreck

An Afton man is accused of burglarizing a garage on Monday in hopes of stealing spare parts to fix the truck he had just crashed while driving drunk.

Washington County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Zachary R. Zimmerman, 24, with third-degree burglary - a felony - and one count of driving under the influence.

He was released Wednesday on $12,000 bail, the conditions of which prohibit him from possessing firearms.

Police were called at 7:45 p.m. Monday by a St. Croix Beach Township resident who reported a possible burglary.

The man said he witnessed a heavily damaged pickup truck circling the neighborhood. He saw the vehicle pull into his driveway and went out to investigate, according to a criminal complaint.

The resident found a man inside his neighbor's garage. He shined a flashlight on the man who responded, "You caught me. I crashed my truck and was stealing parts for it," the complaint states.

The man, who the witness said described himself as "a stupid drunk," allegedly sped off in the truck after the witness said he was calling police.

Police, who had received a description of the truck, located the suspect - later identified as Zimmerman - at his father's home in Afton.

According to the complaint, Zimmerman was inside the suspect vehicle at the time. He got out and police noticed his face was bloodied. Heavy damage was found on the truck.

In an interview with police, Zimmerman said he had crashed the truck somewhere on Indian Trail.

Police said he smelled strongly of alcohol. A preliminary breath test indicated a 0.26 blood-alcohol content, according to the report.

Zimmerman's brother told police the crash occurred near a corner on Indian Trail South. Officers checked the area and found pools of transmission fluid, a power pole cracked in half and a destroyed stop sign.

Zimmerman is due in court again March 29.

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

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