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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A caller reported seeing a vehicle get broken into on Nov. 4 at Chili’s Bar and Grill, 9945 Hudson Place. A male was seen smashing out a rear window and grabbing a laptop bag from inside. The suspect was seen leaving in a Ford Taurus. The bag contained a $1,500 laptop work computer belonging to a Woodbury man. The suspect was not located, though the bag was later retrieved in a south Minneapolis alley. Police were called Nov. 4 to Crackleberry Bay for a report of shots fired in the area. Police investigated, but did not hear additional gunfire.
A man whose actions often spoke louder than his words is being mourned this week in Woodbury. Bruce Stafford, a former Woodbury fire chief and a founding member of the public safety department’s EMT services, died Thursday, Nov. 21.
A Woodbury teenager was charged with two felonies after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase and burglarizing a home. Washington County prosecutors charged 18-year-old Andrew Joseph Helfenberger with one count of second-degree burglary and one count of fleeing police in a motor vehicle. He is also charged with one count of fleeing police on foot, a misdemeanor. The charges stemmed from an Aug.
The city will formally unveil Bielenberg Sports Center’s outdoor skating rink to the public during a grand opening celebration on Sunday, Nov. 30. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 5-7 p.m. Former Minnesota Wild player and East Ridge High School boys hockey coach Wes Walz will perform a ceremonial tree-lighting at the event. Carolers from East Ridge will “set the mood” during the event, according to a city news release. The rink will be open to public skating starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov.
NOTE: This is a sample of recent incidents involving the Woodbury police. All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Police were dispatched Oct. 21 to Aldi Foods, 8472 Tamarack Bay, for a disorderly male who was screaming and yelling in the parking lot. Officers located the man, a Woodbury resident, who was waiting for his sister to finish shopping. He left with her after being told he was disturbing incoming customers. Officers responded Oct. 22 to Blue Ridge Drive for a fight report.
Authorities arrested a man earlier this month in Woodbury after he allegedly fell for a bait-and-switch sting arranged by federal agents involving 20 pounds of methamphetamines bound for Minnesota from Arizona. The man, whose identity authorities had yet to confirm, was charged in Washington County District Court with two counts of first-degree drug conspiracy charges.
A man whose tennis shoes were allegedly left behind at the scene of a Woodbury burglary is headed to prison. Burnsville resident Jess Allan Lidgerding was sentenced Oct. 16 to 28 months – two thirds of which must be served in prison.
A Woodbury man convicted of using stolen funds to pay a Woodbury youth basketball coach was sentenced to jail and to pay more than $7,000 in restitution. Hai Jay Phu Vu, 49, pleaded guilty July 31 in Washington County District Court to one count of felony theft stemming from allegations that he used unauthorized funds from his former employer to make personal purchases at Best Buy and to pay a youth basketball coach in Woodbury. Vu was sentenced Oct.
More than a year after its former executive director resigned her post, the Woodbury Community Foundation is filling a key leadership role. Jeffrey Prottas was named interim executive director of the organization, according to a Nov. 6 news release. Prottas, founder and managing partner of NonProfit 360 Consulting, played a key role in gathering resources for WCF after former Executive Director Alisa Rabin-Bell resigned in 2013.
A Woodbury woman is hoping images from her home surveillance system will help re-unite her with a stolen snowblower. Less than a week after purchasing the machine, Jodi Baggenstoss realized it was missing from her garage, the main door to which had been accidentally left open.