Greenbush couple faces felony charges

Devan Whitney Kriel

by April Scheinoha

    A Greenbush couple has been charged after they allegedly stole five guns, four knives and ammunition from a Thief River Falls firearms store.
    Skyler Brian Burkel, 21, and Devan Whitney Kriel, 28, have both been charged with felony aiding and abetting the theft of a firearm. They were arrested. They are accused of aiding each other in the theft.
    The charges stem from a call to Hunters Outlet on Friday, April 1. According to the complaint, the owners reported that a man and woman had stolen the items about 15 minutes prior to closing a night earlier.
    The stolen items included:
    • A 22-mm North American Arms revolver
    • A 9-mm Magnum Research Baby Desert Eagle semiautomatic pistol
    • A Taurus 85 .38 special revolver
    • A 9-mm Beretta 92 semiautomatic pistol
    • A large buck knife
    • Three small Smith & Wesson knives
    • A box of 9-mm shells
    The items are valued at $2,145.
    As the couple were leaving, an owner heard rattling. He immediately realized that the shells had been taken. He checked the spot where the shells had been for sale. They were gone. Both owners looked for other merchandise at which the couple had looked. Those items were gone as well.
    An owner saw the couple driving away in a gold or tan extended cab pickup truck. He recalled that the woman called the man Sky, Skyler and Skyler Brian at different points during their time in the store. He said the woman talked about wanting to increase her gun inventory after losing half of her guns in a divorce.
    One of the responding officers remembered an earlier report from Hugo’s regarding a suspected shoplifter. The suspect vehicle was a Ford Explorer belonging to Burkel. Upon looking at Burkel’s Facebook page, he noticed that Burkel is in a relationship with Kriel (who is also known by the last name of Wakefield.)
    The owners also looked at Burkel’s and Kriel’s Facebook pages, later identifying them as the couple who were in the store.
    The case was forwarded to the Thief River Falls police investigator, who learned the Roseau Police Department executed a search warrant at the couple’s home on Sunday, April 3. They were arrested at that time for possession of an altered firearm.
    The investigator spoke to Kriel at the Roseau County Jail. She allegedly said they stole five guns, a buck knife and 9-mm ammunition. Kriel said they may have also stolen some dummy rounds and another knife. Then they returned home. She said Burkel later left with the guns, taking them to an undisclosed location. Kriel said she thought she would be able to find where the guns were taken.
    Kriel allegedly said she owed about $600 to a man, who threatened her kids and knows her kids’ location. Kriel said the man messaged Burkel last week, telling Burkel to “go shopping” to pay him back.
    After being read his Miranda rights, Burkel declined to speak with police.