Social media aides in arrest of suspected thief of cancer funds
Social media has led police to a Twin Cities area man accused of ripping off a portion of the cancer donations generated from the recent Eagles Cancer Auction in Owatonna.
The Steele County Attorney’s Office has charged Jeffrey Joseph Krieger, 46, of Oakdale with two felony counts of burglary and theft. He remains locked up in the Steele County Detention Center.
Owatonna Police responded to the Eagle’s Club on Feb. 6 for a burglary. The initial investigation found there was no forced entry to the business, but a large amount of cash was missing.
The officer reviewed surveillance video showing a white man wearing a black puffy coat and a camo hat with orange around the rim of the hat had entered the building and walk by the office door on the night of the cancer auction.
At about 7:24 p.m., the man exited the center doors while holding something in his hands and walking towards the exit. He turned around and walked back towards the office door. As the man appeared to be holding something against his chest, he tried to exit a door that was locked. He then left through another exit.
Eagles Club officials told police the safe had been broken into during the night and a large amount of cash and checks totaling about $8,000 was missing.
Police detective Joel Hunt developed a plan to share the photo of the suspect on the club’s Facebook pages with the message, “Does anyone recognize this person? They are a person of interest and we ask that you message or contact Owatonna Police.”
It wasn’t long before the club received posts and responses on Facebook regarding the photo. One of the posts came from a bar in Lino Lakes, a Twin Cities suburb. Local police contacted Lino Lakes Police, who helped identify the suspect as Krieger. He is currently on probation in Washington County.
Mounds View Police located Krieger on Feb. 10 and transported him to Steele County. While in custody, Krieger said, “I will do whatever I have to, to pay people back,” according to the criminal complaint. Krieger also made references that he had “money hid out there.”
Krieger faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the felony counts.
During the cancer fundraiser, which was held Feb. 2 and 3, the Eagles raised $42,500 for cancer research. At this time, none of the missing funds has been recovered, police said.