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Second Douglas County ice shack burglar sentenced

A Two Harbors man will spend six months in jail for his role in a string of ice shack burglaries that ended when the vehicle he was driving broke through the ice on Upper St. Croix Lake in Solon Springs.

A Two Harbors man will spend six months in jail for his role in a string of ice shack burglaries that ended when the vehicle he was driving broke through the ice on Upper St. Croix Lake in Solon Springs.

Tyler Joshua Edward Hale, 25, pleaded guilty May 17 in Douglas County Circuit Court to one count party to burglary; six additional burglary charges were dismissed. He also pleaded guilty to an unrelated burglary committed in 2013.

Hale was sentenced to two years of probation and six months in jail with Huber work release granted. He was ordered to pay $4,700 in restitution for the 2013 burglary. He also was ordered to provide a DNA sample, undergo a chemical dependency evaluation and have no contact with the victims.

An 18-month prison sentence followed by 18 months of extended supervision was imposed and stayed. Hale would have to serve the prison sentence if he fails to comply with conditions of his probation.

According to the criminal complaint:

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Hale and Ryan Douglas VanPuymbrouck, 21, of Superior were driving on Upper St. Croix Lake the morning of Jan. 19, 2015. The two broke into a number of ice shacks and took items, including a television, axes, alcohol, knives, binoculars, light bulbs and more. The car they were driving, which belonged to Hale’s girlfriend and was not insured, broke through the ice and was submerged in about 6 feet of water. Some of the stolen items were found in nearby ice shacks, others were found in the car after it was pulled from the lake.

The men initially told deputies that they had just been driving around on the ice and broke through; they said they were able to escape the sinking car and entered an ice shack to stay warm.

After additional questioning and investigation, however, the men confessed to breaking into several ice shacks at the southern end of the lake prior to the car breaking through the ice.

VanPuymbrouck told Douglas County Sheriff Sgt. Cory Knutson that they were trying to find stuff because they needed gas to get to work, they were struggling and they knew a few of the ice shacks would be unlocked.

VanPuymbrouck pleaded guilty in Douglas County Circuit Court last month to two counts of party to burglary in connection with the ice shack burglaries. Five additional party to burglary charges were dismissed, but read in for sentencing. He was sentenced to two years of probation and one year in jail with Huber work release.

Related Topics: CRIMEDOUGLAS COUNTYSUPERIOR
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