SIREN, Wis. -- A Grantsburg, WI man charged in Burnett County Circuit Court with committing a spree of burglaries throughout the summer and autumn months of 2016 has been placed on a $5,000 signature bond, however, Baker continues to remain in custody due to pending Federal Court charges stemming from the State of Minnesota.
Earl J. Baker, of Grantsburg, WI is facing multiple felony charges in Burnett County Circuit Court with 6 criminal cases currently pending against him.
An investigation by Burnett County Law Enforcement, with assistance from many other area law enforcement agencies, has resulted in the following charges being filed against Baker:
- Class F Felony Burglary, 2 counts
- Class G Theft of Property
- Class G Felony Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
- Class H Felony Theft
- Class H Felony Operate Motor Vehicle w/o Owner's Consent
- Class I Felony Receiving Stolen Property, 2 Counts
- Class I Felony Attempting to Flee or Elude Traffic Officer
- Class I Felony Theft of Movable Property
- Misdemeanor Theft
- Misdemeanor Criminal Damage
- Misdemeanor Receiving or Concealing Stolen Property
The lengthy investigation by law enforcement culminated on October 5, 2016, when Baker was located and he fled from officers in a vehicle identified as stolen. Baker was ultimately taken into custody on that date and public record shows that Baker appeared in Burnett County Circuit Court on October 7, 2016 and a cash bond of $15,000 was set.
DrydenWire.com has confirmed that Baker remained in the custody of the Burnett County Sheriff's Office until he appeared again in Burnett County Circuit Court on June 14, 2017, and was placed on the conditions of said Signature Bond of $5,000.
According to the criminal complaints, law enforcement officers were dispatched on September 21, 2016 to a report that Baker had allegedly been at a residence trying to locate a firearm that he had previously stolen and 'stashed' in the woods of that property. The caller told officers that this firearm had been found by her son and that she had given it to her father to hold. The caller stated to law enforcement that Baker had been driving a maroon van which matched the description of a van later reported stolen during an investigation of a burglary of the Crex Meadow Service Center, a building which is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The caller also gave officers information as to where Baker might be staying – reportedly in a camper near County Road O. Officers were able to locate this camper and observed a wood splitter which they identified as having been reported as stolen. Officers then obtained a search warrant for the camper which Baker was reported to be staying in and located multiple other items reported as stolen, including a propane tank and a long camper electric connection, however, Baker was not located at that time.
On September 24, 2016, law enforcement received a complaint of suspicious activity on Oeltjen Road. The owner of the property reported to Burnett County Dispatch that when he arrived, he discovered a camper parked on the property, concealed behind a shed.
When officers arrived they found a grill which had a turkey cooking on it along with 2 brats. Officers checked the scene but did not locate anyone. There was also a green All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) parked near the camper. Officers also observed a van matching the description of a van later reported stolen during an investigation of a burglary of the Crex Meadow Service Center, a building which is owned by the Wisconsin DNR.
The camper and the ATV were subsequently identified as belonging to the owner of a nearby property. That property owner also was able to show officers where his cabin had been entered through a window and advised officers that many items had been removed from his property.
When officers searched the camper, they retrieved a backpack which had also been stolen from the cabin. The backpack contained numerous shotgun rounds. Also inside the backpack was a baggy containing tobacco and piece of paper with Earl Baker's Gmail account written on it. Ultimately the owner provided a list of nearly 60 items stolen from his property including the following items:
- Rockwell Camper
- Polaris Xplorer ATV
- Kawasaki Generator
- Homelite Chainsaw
- Electric Jiffy Ice Auger
- Duracraft Heat Express Heater
- 4 Televisions
- Blue Ray player
- Multiple sound system speakers
- Hunterbolt .50 caliber muzzle loader
- Marlin .22 semi-automatic rifle
- Numerous rounds of shotgun and rifle ammunition
- Thunderbolt crossbow
- 3 bottles of tequila
- And many other assorted items listed in detail in the criminal complaint.
On September 26, 2016, a theft was reported by Olby Auto. When officers responded they observed tire tracks circling around the buildings on the property. The owner of Olby Auto showed officers where a pallet of approximately 100 used automobile batteries had been located. Officers observed several batteries in the grass of the area, indicating that those batteries may have fallen off of the pallet when it was removed from the property.
Also missing from the property was a wooden 5' X 10' utility trailer. A cargo container on the property had also been opened and approximately 20 used automobile radiators were missing from the container – those radiators would contain brass and copper fittings. During the investigation into this theft, it was later discovered that a Chevy pickup truck had also been taken from the property. The tracks in the mud in the area where the Chevy truck had been parked matched the tracks found elsewhere on the property.
Another burglary complaint was received by Burnett County Law Enforcement on October 3, 2016. Officers responded to the Crex Meadow Service Center, which is owned by the Wisconsin DNR. Employees of Northwest Wisconsin CEP, Inc. met with officers and stated that a 2000 Dodge van belonging to Northwest Wisconsin CEP, Inc. had been stolen from inside the DNR building on September 20, 2016. Sometime between that date and October 3, 2016, the building was once against broken into and a 2001 Dodge Ram van also belonging to Northwest Wisconsin CEP, Inc. was stolen. An enclosed trailer also located inside the building had broken into as well, but no items were reported as missing from the trailer.
Law enforcement received information in subsequent days that Earl Baker was staying in the woods west of his mother's property in the area of Foxes Landing Road. Officers went to the location in question on October 5, 2016, and they located a trailer house and a couple of cabins which appeared to be vacant and unused for many years, however, they also observed fresh tire tracks on the property. They found a trailer matching the description of the trailer taken from Olby Auto and they also located a Chevy truck which had been reported as stolen from Olby Auto. Also observed was a van matching the description of one of the vans reported as stolen during the investigation of the burglary the Crex Meadow Service Center.
At this point, it was determined by law enforcement that someone may be hiding on the property, possibly Earl Baker, so a call was placed for back-up officers in order to have more law enforcement officers on the scene before approaching and attempting to make contact with anyone at the location.
Baker was ultimately located in the woods in the area, which was determined to be land owned by Burnett County. Although officers ordered him to stop, he ignored their commands and reportedly left the area in the stolen 2001 Dodge van. Spike strips were placed across the trail and Baker drove over them with the van, causing the tires on the van to slowly deflate. Baker continued to flee in the van traveling onto Spaulding Road and then onto County Road F, failing to stop at stop signs. It appeared to officers that Baker was losing control of the van, and eventually the van drove down into a ditch, then back up on the road where one tire exploded and another completely deflated.
Baker was taken into custody at that point in time. Officers located a handgun outside of the stolen van, indicating it may have been thrown from the passenger window. Also found with the handgun was a holster containing 23 nine millimeter bullets.
Inside the van, officers found a blue generator which had also previously been reported stolen.
When officers returned to the Foxes Landing Road address, among the items they retrieved were the following items identified as having been reported stolen:
- Wooden Trailer reported stolen from Olby Auto
- Chevy Truck reported stolen from Olby Auto
- Black and Yellow trailer reported stolen from the National Park Service
- 3 trail cameras reported stolen in two separate burglary complaints
- 2002 Yamaha ATV reported stolen from an individual in a separate investigation
- 90 cc Arctic Cat ATV also reported stolen from another individual in a separate investigation
The criminal complaints state that all 3 trail cameras retrieved were found to contain footage of Baker committing burglaries. DNA retrieved from at last two of the stolen items located at the Foxes Landing Road address reportedly was matched to Earl Baker.
On December 3, 2016 Burnett County Sheriff's Office responded to a complaint of a firearms theft on State Road 70. The complainant was Earl Baker's father who stated to officers that he discovered two shotguns missing and that he believed that Baker had taken them at some point in time during the summer months of 2016. He reported a Winchester Model 37 and a Stevens Break Open 410 as both missing. Although he could not provide serial numbers for either firearm, officers later confirmed that the Winchester Model 37 had been recovered from Baker.
Public record shows that the criminal charges against Baker were filed by the Burnett County District Attorney's Office on the dates of April 18, 2017, May 23, 2017, May 24, 2017, June 6, 2017, June 7, 2017, and June 12, 2017.
Baker's next court date for his Burnett County Circuit Court cases was not listed on public record at the time of this post.
A criminal case is also filed against Baker in Polk County Circuit Court charging him with Class H Felony Failure to Report to Jail. These charges were filed on November 8, 2016. Baker's next court appearance on that case is set for June 23, 2017.
The maximum penalties for Baker's criminal charges in Burnett County are listed below:
- Class H Felony Theft – Movable Property-Special Facts (Maximum Penalty: 6 Years Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
- Class G Theft of Movable Property (Maximum Penalty: 10 Years Imprisonment; $25,000 Fine; or Both)
- 2 Counts of Class F Felony Burglary (Maximum Penalty: 12 Years & 6 Months Imprisonment; $25,000 Fine; or Both)
- Class H Felony Operate Motor Vehicle w/o Owner's Consent (Maximum Penalty: 6 Years Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
- Class I Felony Attempting to Flee or Elude Traffic Officer (Maximum Penalty: 3 Years & 6 Months Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
- Class I Felony Theft of Movable Property (Maximum Penalty: 3 years & 6 Months; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
- Class G Felony Possession of a Firearm by a Felon (Maximum Penalty: 10 Years Imprisonment; $25,000 Fine; or Both)
- 2 Counts of Class I Felony Receiving Stolen Property ( Maximum Penalty: 3 Years, 6 Months Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
- Misdemeanor Theft (Maximum Penalty: 9 Months Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine, or Both)
- Misdemeanor Criminal Damage to Property (Maximum Penalty: 9 Months Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
- Misdemeanor Receiving or Concealing Stolen Property (Maximum Penalty: 9 Months Imprisonment; $10,000 Fine; or Both)
DrydenWire.com reminds it's readers that individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until convicted by judge or jury.