Crime blotter: Holy theft

class=img_thumbleft>On October 23rd, at approximately 9:15 p.m., South St. Paul police were called to an unspecified church. The person calling 911 stated that a man, later identified as Dale Eugene Nerka, had walked up to his vehicle and kicked the passenger's side mirror.

Nerka then allegedly walked over to a statue of the Virgin Mary located on the church grounds and began violently shaking it. He eventually succeeded in freeing the statue from its moorings.

When police officers arrived on the scene they observed Nerka walking across the church parking lot with the Virgin Mary statue. The 22-year-old then took off running, according to a criminal complaint subsequently filed in Dakota County District Court, but was eventually apprehended by the cops.

Nerka faces one felony count of theft.

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