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Teen gets jail for receiving stolen property

A River Falls teenager was sentenced to 20 days jail Wednesday in Pierce County Circuit Court for two counts of receiving stolen property and criminal damage to property.

Evan R. Bakke, 18, N8041 925th St., was placed on two years' probation for the three misdemeanors by Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Robert Wing. The jail term was a probation condition.

Wing explained his sentencing by stating he was concerned Bakke could be calculating one minute and immature the next because he'd seen evidence of both.

"He knew the items were stolen," Wing said, describing the stolen property incident. "And he knew the items were stolen from someone he knew. The fact he didn't return them to (the victim) is inexplicable to me."

The criminal damage to property rose from an incident last March at Kinnickinnic State Park, as workers there found an abandoned garage on fire.

According to the criminal complaint, the workers told sheriff's investigators the garage contained foam for the docks and signs for the park, and the foam was stacked to the ceiling, adding additional fuel to the fire. The complaint also states a neighboring house, which was unoccupied at the time, had been entered as well.

While searching the house, investigators found a print on a piece of glass with duct tape wrapped around it. That evidence, along with others, was sent to the State Crime Lab in Madison. Their response was the print on the duct tape along with another print found at the scene was Bakke's (he was previously arrested for bail jumping and disorderly conduct).

Investigators went to Bakke's house and showed him the crime lab report. He said the duct tape print came from when he looked into the house. When asked about the other print, he had no clue and said it came from the outside. Investigators told him the print, which was on a bracket, came from inside of the house from inside the closet.

Bakke was arrested and charged with felony arson, burglary and criminal damage to property. The first two charges were dismissed and he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge as part of the agreement.

For more, read the April 21 print edition of the River Falls Journal.