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Teen gets stayed prison sentence, must pay $5K in restitution for school vandalism

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BENSON -- Cody Lee Friese, 18, of Willmar, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 months and one day in prison, which was stayed, three years of probation and 60 days in the Swift County Jail for his role in vandalizing the KMS Elementary School in Murdock last summer.

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As part of his sentence handed down in Swift County District Court on a first-degree damage to property charge, Friese was fined $500 and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution. He shares that responsibility with Dustin Joseph Woodworth, 18, of Marshall and formerly of Willmar, who was sentenced in February to 45 days in the county jail, a $500 fine and five years of probation on a felony damage to property charge.

As part of a plea agreement, a felony charge against Friese of second-degree burglary of a government, religious, historic or school building was dismissed. The charges were filed after a janitor arrived at the school around 6 a.m. Aug. 6 to find extensive damage, including broken windows, spray paint damage and exhausted fire extinguishers at the school. The Swift County Sheriff's Office was called and used a tracking dog and shoeprints to follow a trail from the school to a home along the town's main street. Officers obtained a search warrant, arrested Friese, Woodworth and two others, and found approximately $200 in a school cash bag and candy bars from the school at the home. The two others were later released.

Also seized were shoes that matched the prints left at the school where candy and soda vending machines were vandalized. Damage estimates were $50,000 or more.

Also included in the complaint is that the Sheriff's Office had been notified of people in black clothing that were breaking into a building that same night. A deputy had had contact with two men, also wearing black, several nights before. They had been identified as Friese and Woodworth.

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