Authorities say Mother Nature halts bar burglary - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Authorities say Mother Nature halts bar burglary


MERRILL (WAOW) --  It was 3 a.m. on a cold winter's night.  Jay Proft, owner of The Dugout bar in Merrill got a call from his alarm company.  Someone had broken in.

"As we pulled up we saw them running out the back door," Proft recalls.

And that's when he says he took off after them.

"I chased one through the snow, slipped and missed. I just wanted to catch them and hold onto them for the cops," Proft said.

According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, four suspects made a dash for the woods.  But, as the temperatures dipped just below minus five degrees, authorities say Mother Nature did the work for them.

"Between the cold weather and being able to follow their tracks a couple of them gave up because they were too cold," Sgt. Thomas Barker of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department said.

 It was so cold in fact, authorities say one of the suspects was taken to the hospital complaining of hypothermia.

"He came out of the bushes and said he just couldn't take it anymore," Sgt. Barker said.

Deamon Boettcher, Michael Weindant, Tony Hurburt and James Madden are facing multiple charges, including burglary and theft.

The suspects attorney and a family member told Newsline 9 they had no comment.

And as for the bar owner, he says insurance will cover the damages.

"I'll get everything together," Proft says.

But most of all, he is just looking to move forward.


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