DNA solves church theft

| August 19, 2010

A homeless man has been accused of stealing money from a downtown La Crosse church after authorities said they traced him to DNA left on the collection box.

A priest at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, 530 Main St., reported $250 to $350 missing from a collection box July 4, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Officers discovered blood on the box and chisel marks around the lock.

The priest told police Robert Olsen, 42, had been found in several church rooms not open to the public, the complaint stated. A church surveillance video July 4 showed Olsen with a shiny object in his hand.

Olsen, who does not have a permanent address, was charged Wednesday with possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property, misdemeanor theft and misdemeanor bail jumping. He is jailed on a $5,000 cash bond, with a preliminary hearing set for Tuesday.

He also is suspected in several other church burglaries, prosecutors said.

He had been out on bond in a another theft case and has a 2003 burglary and theft conviction in Sheboygan County and 1988 burglary conviction in La Crosse County.



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Category: Church Security