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Copper thief arrested while asleep on the job

Brainerd Police officers arrested a would-be copper thief Wednesday morning after he was found sleeping on the floor of an unoccupied house. 

About 10:47 a.m. Wednesday officers were dispatched to a report of a burglary at a residence on the 1100 block of Brook Street and the suspect still was located in the house. 

Officers arrived and found Kristopher Paul Poignee, 29, Baxter, passed out or asleep on the floor inside the house, Police Chief Corky McQuiston said Thursday. Poignee was awakened by the officers and arrested without incident. 

Investigation at the house revealed Poignee forced entry through a window and it appeared he was in the process of stealing copper pipes. The unoccupied residence was under renovation. 

A detached garage also was broken into, as was another unoccupied residence on Brook Street in which the door was pried open. Police believe Poignee also is responsible for that burglary. 

Poignee is being held in the Crow Wing County Jail pending formal criminal charges from the Crow Wing County Attorney’s office. Poignee has numerous previous convictions in Minnesota since 2000, including numerous misdemeanors for driving offenses, underage drinking offenses, assault, disorderly conduct, damage to property and theft in Crow Wing County; gross misdemeanor escape from custody in 2002 in Crow Wing County; felony fourth-degree assault of a peace officer in 2007 in Crow Wing County; and felony third-degree burglary in Hubbard County, for which he was wanted on a warrant out of that county.

McQuiston said there’s been a rise in recyclable metal thefts in the area including copper pipes, copper wire and water meters. He said it wasn’t known if Wednesday’s burglaries were related to previous burglaries in which copper and meters were stolen. 

“It’s a real concern,” McQuiston said. “There’s some safety aspects involved for the public, too, when electrical components or water meters are tampered with.”

McQuiston asked the public to report suspicious activity when they see it. He also asked anyone with additional information regarding the burglaries to contact the police department at 829-2805.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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