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The Free Press

MAPLETON — A man allegedly celebrated Independence Day by burglarizing an apartment and a church, ringing the church bell while naked, then fighting with a man who arrived to cover him up.

John Milton Baer, 37, of Mapleton, was charged with felony counts of burglary and property damage and misdemeanor counts of assault, disorderly conduct and property damage Monday in Blue Earth County District Court.

Police were called to a report of a naked man inside St. Teresa Catholic Church in Mapleton the morning of July 4. They arrived to find Baer and another man fighting outside the church, according to a court complaint.

The other man said he was called about Baer and he went to the church with a blanket. A struggled ensued when Baer reportedly tried to get into the driver’s seat and start the man’s vehicle. The man said Baer hit him in the face.

A woman who was in the church said she heard noise at a door then saw a naked man ringing the church bell. Other witnesses said they saw Baer throwing rocks at a church door.

The door had broken glass. Church flooring was damaged when a can of paint was knocked over and spilled, the charges say.

Police later received a report that Baer also broke into an apartment near the church. The occupant said he awoke to a bang and found Baer in his kitchen. Baer reportedly left when the occupant asked what the intruder was doing, leaving behind a door that had more than $1,000 in damage.

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