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Teens allegedly destroyed Pierce County house with guns

Joshua T. Smith-­Larson1 / 2
Waylon D. Lerol2 / 2

Two Minnesota teenagers were charged in connection with an alleged trespassing incident that left a rural Pierce County home trashed and peppered with bullet holes.

Joshua T. Smith-­Larson, 19, and Waylon D. Lerol, 18, each face felony charges of criminal property damage and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. The men are also charged with criminal trespassing and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a building, both misdemeanors.

A June 22 court date awaits both Minnesota men.

Smith­-Larson, a Mahtomedi resident, and Lerol, of Lake Elmo, were charged April 28 in Pierce County Circuit Court.

The charges stemmed from a Nov. 16­-17, 2014, incident in the Town of Oak Grove, when a landlord at property on 560th Avenue called to report a possible burglary. The landlord said a house she rents out on a different portion of the property had been substantially damaged.

Pierce County deputies inspected the house,­­ mostly vacated by renters transitioning to a different residence,­­ and found windows shot out and about 48 empty beer cans scattered throughout.

The complaint states some damage appeared to have been made by .22­-caliber ammunition, some from shotgun blasts and other holes were fired from BB guns.  A pile of vomit was found near French doors shot up with BB ammunition.

Among the items recovered at the scene by authorities was a distinctive Harley-­Davidson ballcap. Deputies later spoke with the male renter of the house, who said his son had stolen the hat months earlier.

The renter also said his truck was missing from the front of the house; it was later discovered in a remote wooded area of the 560th Avenue property.

Authorities keyed their search on the son, later identified as Smith­-Larson,­­ after his father told deputies he was suspicious of him. He said Smith-­Larson told him during a phone call that he had been at the trashed house on the day of the incident.

Lerol came under suspicion after the deputy investigating the report recalled that another deputy had reported encountering a suspicious snowmobiler on the day of the incident, not far from the destroyed house.

The complaint states Lerol went to a 1090th Street home on Nov. 17, where he reportedly told the homeowner he was lost while snowmobiling. A deputy tracked him down and let him warm up in his squad, where he talked to Lerol.

During the encounter, Lerol ­­ under­dressed for the weather, the complaint describes, told the deputy he was trying to get back to a house he had been at with his friend Josh. He eventually asked the deputy to leave him at the snowmobile.

A Piece County investigator reached Smith­-Larson by phone in December 2014 while he was in Arizona. Smith­-Larson admitted to having beers at the 560th Avenue home with Lerol and others. He claimed Lerol and another male were responsible for the gunfire.

Smith-­Larson admitted to taking his father’s truck, the complaint states.

The investigator also interviewed Lerol by phone. He denied being at the 560th Avenue house.

Both men were booked into Pierce County jail on May 18 for court and were released on $3,000

signature bonds.