SPRING VALLEY, Minn. (KTTC) -- An investigation into a string of church burglaries across southeast Minnesota leads law enforcement to a drug bust Thursday night in Fillmore County.
The investigation started Thursday when authorities arrested Michael Niemeyer, 32, of Rochester, on drug charges. He admitted to investigators that he committed several burglaries in Fillmore and Mower Counties, including the burglary of St. John's Lutheran School in Wykoff, the First Baptist Church in Spring Valley, and several downtown Spring Valley businesses.
Officers then executed a search warrant Thursday night at 10158 County Road 8 in rural Spring Valley where Mark Burrington, 52, was arrested.
The Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force, the Mower Austin Tactical Team, and deputies from the Fillmore County Sheriff's Office surrounded the property on County Road 8.
Fillmore County Sheriff's Office Captain John DeGeorge said that during the raid, investigators found stolen property related to the burglaries, firearms, a small amount of meth and components of a meth lab.
"This operation actually went pretty well," DeGeorge said. "We did not encounter much resistance, and at no time was there really a public safety risk or an increased risk than what we expected."
Niemeyer is currently being held in the Mower County Jail on burglary charges. Burrington is being held in the Fillmore County Jail on charges of possession of a controlled substance, and may face charges related to manufacturing meth.
Authorities say they do not know if the church burglaries are connected to a recent one at United Methodist Church in Dexter, but they are looking into it.
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