A man who allegedly broke into the new transportation center being built in downtown Duluth and did more than $60,000 in damage has been charged with three felonies.
Wesley Andrew Kleveter, 18, of Duluth, has been charged in St. Louis County District Court with third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal damage to property and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Police say Kleveter put on a construction vest and slipped into the Duluth Transportation Center on Michigan Street last Saturday and went on a four-hour crime spree in which he smashed computer equipment, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures.
Part of an elevator and some drywall were also damaged in the building that will serve as a hub for the Duluth Transit Authority’s (DTA) local and regional buses and intercity bus lines such as Jefferson Lines.
Preliminary estimates put the damage at $63,500, police said.
“Kleveter is not an employee of the DTA or the construction company, and had no lawful purpose to be on the premises,” police said.
Kleveter is also accused of breaking into as many as 15 vehicles in a nearby parking structure. Kleveter was found with two firearms in his possession when he was arrested by police around 11 p.m. The weapons were believed to have been stolen from nearby vehicles, police said.
The vandalism comes just two weeks before the $30 million center was scheduled to open. Despite the setback, DTA General Manager Dennis Jensen said earlier this week the transit center will open Feb. 4 as scheduled.
Kleveter has previous convictions of first-degree burglary and possession of a dangerous weapon on school property, police said.
Kleveter faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine on the most serious charge.
Bail was set at $50,000. Kleveter was in the St. Louis County Jail as of Friday afternoon.
He is scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 10.