Costanzo mug.jpg

A Minnesota man was charged with criminal damage to property, theft and drug related charges following a reported theft at a Siren gas station.

John R. Costanzo, 34, St. Paul, Minn., was charged with felony criminal damage to property stemming from an alleged theft at the Holiday gas station in Siren. He was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft.

Siren Police were dispatched to the Holiday gas station following a report of theft of a donation box. The police were told it was a male suspect wearing a hat, jacket and black shoes. They were unable to locate a suspect meeting that description after arriving.

The store manager told authorities the male suspect came in acting strange and asking about the Fishbowl Bar in Danbury. The manager added when checking store camera footage he noticed the suspect was carrying what looked like a knife and carried out a donation jug belonging to the Humane Society of Burnett County.

The suspect also cut wires to the credit card machine connected to the cash register.

Siren Police distributed a photo of the suspect to the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office and St. Croix Tribal Police.

Sheriff deputies searched for the suspect at the Fishbowl Bar and then the Danbury Casino. A deputy arrived at the casino after learning the suspect may be Costanzo and was staying at the casino hotel. The deputy had three subjects held at gun point until backup arrived. When other deputies arrived they noted Costanzo fit the description given by the Holiday employees.

Costanzo and the other two subjects, James Dalbec and Joseph Stenbakken, were interviewed by authorities. Dalbec and Stenbakken both said they were with Costanzo but had fallen asleep at some point and did not know what Costanzo did in Siren.

Costanzo admitted he took the donation box. He added he did not mean to scare anyone but “was in a bad place and needed money.”

He said he was not wielding a knife but a large pair of pliers.

The hotel staff told authorities they had found an alleged meth pipe in his room and were planning on kicking him out of the hotel when he returned.

When the vehicle was searched authorities found a glass pipe with a rubber hose connected to it often used to smoke meth. They also found an alleged marijuana pipe and a gem baggie. The glass pipe with rubber hose and gem baggie field tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

Costanzo is scheduled to be in front of Judge Melissia Mogen Dec. 5 for his preliminary hearing.