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The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office reports new developments in a burglary investigation ongoing since Jan. 4 in the village of De Soto.

Mark Leonard Schroeder


A commercial building, rented by Kirby Excavating & Landscaping, located at 162 N. Mill Park Drive in De Soto, was forcefully entered in the early hours of Jan. 4. Power tools, money and other items were stolen, according to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.

Evidence was collected, including surveillance video, which was circulated on social media. Sheriff John Spears said several investigative leads were pursued in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.

Spears said his office worked closely with several law enforcement agencies, and on Jan. 12 Winneshiek County Sheriff Dan Marx reported the arrest of Mark Leonard Schroeder, 41, of Decorah, Iowa, stemming from a Dec. 31 burglary at Randy’s Bluffton Store in rural Winneshiek County. The Winneshiek case had similarities with the De Soto incident and evidence soon linked Schroeder.

According to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office, some of the stolen property has been recovered and identified by the owner, Sunday, Jan. 28.

Property yet to be recovered are two Jonsered power saws, a DeWalt 18-volt, ½-inch impact tool and other items.

Schroeder remains in the Winneshiek County Jail on $20,000 cash bond awaiting a trial date. The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office placed a hold for Schroeder and charges of Burglary and Felony Theft are being sought through Vernon County District Attorney Timothy J. Gaskell.

Sheriff Spears said he does not think Schroeder acted alone and urges anyone with information to contact the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office at 608-637-2123 or Vernon County Crime Stoppers: Phone 608-637-8477 or 800-657-6868; app; web or

The investigation continues and Spears said more arrests could be forthcoming.

The following agencies assisted in the investigation: Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office, Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office, Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, Monona Police Department, Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office, Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Waukon Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center.


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