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Complaint: Alleged burglar helps police to crime scene in Woodbury

A Hastings man described in detail a burglary he said he witnessed in Woodbury.

But Washington County prosecutors say the man left out one key detail when describing the burglary and escorting police to the scene: he was the burglar.

The man, 18-year-old Harley Davidson Sullivan, was charged Jan. 25 with one count of first-degree burglary and one count of gross misdemeanor theft.

A man riding with Sullivan, White Bear Lake resident Jered Sternaman, faces the same charges in connection with the Woodbury burglary.

A criminal complaint chronicles the chain of events like this:

A Woodbury officer on patrol at 5:30 a.m. Jan. 23 spotted an SUV driving along Wedgewood Drive. The SUV fit a general description of the vehicle driven by a theft suspect.

The officer followed the SUV as it drove slowly through the residential area before conducting a traffic stop.

The driver, Sullivan, told the officer he and his passengers - Sternaman, 20, and another man who was not charged - were delivering newspapers and produced a document listing residences slated for deliveries.

Sullivan then volunteered information to the officer that he had witnessed a crime about 25 minutes earlier. He described seeing two males enter a garage by sliding under a partially opened garage door.

Sullivan agreed to escort police to the residence on Dorset Lane. He drove off after bringing police to the home.

Police found what Sullivan had described: a partially open garage door. Investigation of the scene revealed the three vehicles parked in the garage had been tampered with and that a woman's purse was missing from one of the vehicles.

Officers later learned that credit cards that had been in the purse were used later in the morning at a Cottage Grove gas station. Security footage from the gas station revealed images of Sullivan and Sternaman. Records showed an attempted purchase with a credit card from the purse in Hastings - including an attempted $369 purchase at a gas station there. A total of $876 in attempted purchases was made on the card.

Sullivan and Sternaman were apprehended the next day. Both admitted to entering the garage, stealing the purse and using the stolen credit card.

The burglary charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.

Sullivan and Sternaman both make their initial court appearances on Thursday, Feb. 7.

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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