Warrant issued for Wampole in church burglary

| July 22, 2010

After two burglaries were reported at Crossroads Church in Chippewa Falls last July, members were left uneasy and changes were quickly made.

“We felt shocked, violated,” Pastor Wade Duroe said Tuesday.

An alarm system had to be installed, and members are now more restricted as to when they can come and go from the building.

“It’s had even a long-lasting effect on the feel of our church,” Duroe said.

But some relief came Tuesday when the pastor learned a suspect has been charged based on DNA evidence from the crime. Now the man must found, as an extraditable warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Keith R. Wampole, 19, has been charged with burglary to a building, theft and criminal damage to property. His address listed in court records is 11915 18th Ave., Chippewa Falls.

According to the criminal complaint, the church, located at 209 W. South Ave., Chippewa Falls, was burglarized last year. On Sunday, July 19, 2009, members had arrived to set up for services and found a projection TV, two large speakers and a DVD player had been stolen. The items were valued at nearly $14,000.

The church’s kitchen and altar area were in disarray, with kitchen drawers left open and items from the altar thrown around.

Tire tracks were discovered in the grass near the church, and a window had been smashed open. Blood was found on and near the window, and evidence was collected. This May, the blood’s DNA was matched with that of Wampole’s, who was in a database of previously convicted offenders. Police believe two suspects were involved because blood was not found in all the damaged areas of the church. No one else has been charged.

Just 15 days before the second burglary was reported, a TV had been stolen from the church after a window was smashed. No one has faced charges in that burglary either.

The burglaries hampered the church’s worship services and changed some vacation Bible school plans. But Peace Lutheran Church lent Crossroads a projector, and others helped as well.

Duroe said he’s happy to hear justice is being done for his church.

“It’s that combination of justice and mercy,” he said.

Wampole has been charged as a repeat offender. He was found guilty of burglary to a building in Ashland County in 2008 and has other convictions. He faces nearly 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts in the Crossroads case.



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Category: Church Security

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