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Spicer 17-year-olds charged with felonies for break-ins

Two 17-year-olds from Spicer were in court this week to face felony charges related to three break-ins at the Little Crow Country Club in March and April.

Joshua James Haug and Mathew James Zuroff are accused of breaking into a maintenance shed on March 27, April 5 and April 6.

Each faces eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge. The felonies include three third-degree burglary charges, two charges of motor vehicle theft and three charges of aiding and abetting first-degree property damage. The misdemeanor is a fourth-degree intentional damage to property charge. Felony charges against juveniles 16 or older are public record.

Both boys pleaded not guilty to all the charges in court appearances Monday afternoon.

Judge Kathryn Smith scheduled pre-trial hearings on July16 for Zuroff and on July 20 for Haug.

According to a criminal complaint, a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy was called to the Nest Lake boat access on March 28. A golf cart was floating upside down in the lake about 50 feet from the end of the dock. Another cart was parked on a nearby golf path. They were identified as the property of the Little Crow Country Club. Damage was estimated at nearly $4,000.

Video surveillance at the club had picked up two people walking to the shed. Authorities later determined that the people in the video were Haug and Zuroff, according to the complaint.

On April 5, two golf carts were stolen from the maintenance shed. Tracks were seen in the fresh snow on a hillside near the shed. Tracks were also found in the city of Spicer and at Saulsbury Beach. An area resident reported two golf carts parked in a field later that morning. Both carts had substantial damage, with repair estimates exceeding $3,000.

The club then disabled the golf carts so that they wouldn't start.

On April 6, a Pontiac Grand Am stored in the shed at the country club was found damaged. A pick ax was leaning against the car, and the driver's side window had been smashed in. There was damage to the faceplate of the radio unit.

That day, the Sheriff's Department was notified that a newly graded and seeded section of Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Cemetery had been damaged. Numerous vehicle tracks were in the area. Damage included torn-up seeded areas, a destroyed maple tree, a broken off sprinkler head and a bent water pump. Cost to repair the damage was estimated at $1,568.

Investigators spoke with Haug and Zuroff, and matched the bottoms of their shoes to footprints at the crime scenes, according to the complaint.

The court files contain descriptions of two interviews with each boy. Haug allegedly said they "wanted something to ride around on" and Zuroff had the idea of going to the golf course for carts.

According to the descriptions of the interviews, the boys admitted playing "bumper cars" with the carts after the second break-in. The statements were inconsistent in some areas, and at first, each boy suggested that some of the activities had been the other's idea.

Both eventually admitted to being in the cemetery and driving the carts in Spicer.