Teens accused of troubling assault and arson

There is little remaining of a 1995 motorhome near Danbury that was allegedly set ablaze by teens who were upset that a man refused to buy alcohol for them. The teens are also accused of beating up and kicking the man, who went unconscious, with the duo later torching the camper after he went to be treated for his injuries.   

Two teens are facing a variety of criminal charges for allegations of several troubling incidents in rural Danbury that left a man in the hospital and a motorhome burned to the ground, apparently because the man would not buy the teens alcohol.

While much of the probable cause report is redacted due to the ages of the alleged perpetrators behind the crimes, the bulk of the story is revealed, but confusing.

According to the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), the incident occurred on the evening of Thursday, April 21 in the Town of Swiss in Danbury. 

Apparently, two teen males had approached a man in Danbury who was outside drinking, trying to get his campfire going, and they asked if he would buy beer for them. When the man refused, the teens “cold-cocked” the man, and then apparently kicked him as he lay nearly unconscious. He was unclear why they did that, but said he knew who they were.

A BCSO investigator and a St. Croix Tribal Police officer were able to elicit some details and interview the suspected teens, who essentially confirmed the story, but suggested that the adult male victim had accosted them and caused them to fight, with one of the teens “putting the boots to him” and kicking him after he was down and unconscious, reportedly in the head.

While the details between then and later were a little vague, it appears that at least one of the teens returned to the scene later, while the victim was being treated at the hospital, and lit his motorhome on fire, incinerating the camper to the ground.

Police and fire responded to the scene and were able to keep the fire from spreading, but the suspicion grew that the two teens may also have been behind the suspected arson.

During questioning, police were able to confirm some of the details of the incident, with one of the teens offering some background and confirming the other boys’ actions with text messages found on his cell phone.

When questioned, the other teen suggested that the victim was behind the initial confrontation, that he had accosted them, which led to the fight, but he denied the arson and refused to answer any further questions. He later fled the scene on foot after the police interview but was found a short time later and taken into custody, later transported to a juvenile detention center.

Because of the ages of the teens, few court details are available, but it appears that at least one of the teens will be charged with felony Battery – causing substantial or aggravated harm, as well as felony Arson.

The male victim reportedly had broken ribs and multiple lacerations and bruising from the beating but is expected to recover. The motorhome was deemed a total loss and contained the life possessions of one of the victims. The value of the burned down 1995 camper was believed to be about $9,000. The female victim said that everything she owned was in the motorhome, and said she wanted people to know that she was now homeless because of the arson.

While probable cause report and court records do not reveal details of the two teens involved, it was noted that at least one of the teens is believed to be 14-years-old.

- With information from the BCSO