Five charged in stolen comic book, baseball cards, action figure case
Owner says items worth six figures
NEW ULM — Suspects from New Ulm, Gaylord, Winthrop, Hutchinson, and a juvenile from New Ulm were charged in Brown County District Court Feb. 24 in a case involving stolen antique comic books, baseball cards and other collectibles.
New Ulm Police responded to a burglary report Feb. 10 in which a homeowner reported items that appeared to have been stolen from a residence, according to the complaint. Officers noticed that the door was pried open and damaged.
Police did not list the address of the residence where the theft occurred.
The homeowner reported 1930s era comic books in pristine condition, vintage baseball cards and collectible action figures estimated to be “worth hundreds of thousands of dollars” were stolen.
On Feb. 19, police responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the same residence . Officers noticed a male fleeing the residence, ordered him to stop, but he fled.
Police suspected a juvenile male, later identified as Colton R. Krienke, 17, New Ulm, involved in the burglaries and executed a search warrant at his last known residence on Feb. 22 and found an eight-foot high, black “Sasquatch” plywood cutout that was earlier reported stolen.
Officers also found several old comics under a false space area under a step into and out of the juvenile’s room.
Officers found several Wal-Mart reusable grocery bags with sales tags attached, loaded with comic books. Police contacted Wal-Mart and identified Krienke on Wal-Mart security camera footage purchasing the same type of bags.
Police also searched the home of Kelly M. Tisdell, Krienke’s girlfriend and allegedly found hundreds of old comic books, stamps, and other collectibles valued at more than $35,000; plus 1.9 pounds of marijuana that appeared to be ready for sale.
Krienke was charged Feb. 24 in Brown County Juvenile Court with felony theft, receiving stolen property, burglary, fleeing a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle, plus 5th-degree drug sale. A pre-trial hearing was set for 2:15 p.m., May 15.
Tisdell was charged Feb. 24 with felony theft, receiving stolen property, 5th degree drug sale marijuana mixture, aiding an offender to avoid arrest and petty misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession.
Police responded to a silent alarm at 1:53 a.m. Feb. 25 at the same residence. Police saw a female, Heather Wurtzberger, 38, Gaylord; leaving the main floor on the south side of the residence, then saw a man, Nicholas Cassens, 38, Hutchinson; followed by another man, Kyle J. Sparrow, 34, Winthrop, all trying to leave the home. Each of the suspects carried a flashlight and said they were looking for a friend but went to the wrong house.
Police searched Wurtzberger’s home and found boxes of rare comic books allegedly stolen from the burglarized home plus mason jars of silver coins. The recovered items were estimated to be worth more than $35,000, according to the complaint.
Wurtzberger, Cassens and Sparrow were charged with felony burglary and possession of burglary tools, and misdemeanor trespassing in Brown County District Court Feb. 25.Wurtzberger was alsocharged with felony theft and receiving stolen property. Cassens was also charged with felony drug possession as he allegedly had marijuana in his pocket.
Wurtzberger’s bail was set at $20,000 without conditions, $5,000 with conditions. Sparrow’s bail was set at $30,000 without conditions, $10,000 with conditions. Cassens’ bail was set at $40,000 without conditions, $15,000 with conditions.
Court appearances for the three were set for 8:30 a.m., March 9.
(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nu