Burglar nabbed with help of DNA, Facebook posts sentenced in Renville County

OLIVIA — A St. Paul man was sentenced Tuesday in connection with a 2017 burglary in Renville County.

John Andrew Bergstrom, 30, was ordered to pay restitution of $8,560 and will be on supervised probation for five years but will serve no additional time in jail.

The sentence was a downward departure from state sentencing guidelines.

Bergstrom had originally been charged with three felonies — including burglary in the second and third degree and theft — in connection with theft of a snowblower, a sewer dump for a camper, a dirt bike, tools and tool box, a generator, Clam fish house and a chainsaw that had been taken from a shed near Morton in December of 2017.

According to the complaint, an investigating officer collected blood from a footboard on an ATV after determining it appeared someone had attempted to cut the lock off the ATV with snips. The blood sample was sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which indicated the DNA matched Bergstrom.

Investigators also learned that Bergstrom had been at Jackpot Junction on the date of the burglary and, according to the complaint, posted photos on Facebook of a cut finger with blood on it on that date. He also posted photos on social media of the ice fish house and dirt bike missing from the shed and sent messages regarding the sale of toolboxes, tools, a dirt bike and snow blower, according to the complaint.

In June, Bergstrom pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary in the third degree and the two other charges were dropped.

Judge Dwayne Knutsen sentenced Bergstrom to 33 months in prison, but that sentence was stayed for five years. Bergstrom was also given credit for the 283 days he’s already served in jail.

In a letter requesting the downward departure in the sentence, Bergstrom’s attorney, Curtis Reese, wrote that Bergstrom had successfully completed treatment and is now participating in aftercare/sober housing living, is now “particularly amenable to probation” and that continued incarceration is not necessary to rehabilitate Bergstrom to a law-abiding citizen.

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