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3 charged with trying to steal copper piping

Three men were charged in Freeborn County District Court this week with breaking into the old Emmons School and attempting to steal copper piping from throughout the building.

The following were charged with one count of second-degree burglary and one count of aiding and abetting second-degree burglary:

• Bryce Lloyd Williams, 29, of Faribault

• Matthew Howard Humphrey, 30, of Albert Lea

• Daniel Arden Smith, 36, of Hollandale

The men were arrested last Sunday night after dispatchers received a phone call from a witness who had reportedly seen several people going toward the school and then later saw flashlights coming from the building.

A deputy who responded to the call found a broken window on the north side of the building.

The three men were found inside.

According to court documents, there was extensive damage to the sinks, furnaces, boilers and motors in the school. In the hallways, the ceiling tile had been removed every eight to ten feet, and the floor was littered with insulation wrap eight to ten feet long. This suggested that pipes had been cut and removed in corresponding lengths.

Court documents state the men told deputies they were there working at the school; however, the owner of the building said there was no remodeling of the building going on. No one except his manager was allowed inside the building.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.