Steamboat Springs Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the charges of vandalism brought forth after the man's initial arrest.
The 27-year-old Steamboat Springs man arrested for shoplifting and threatening police Wednesday has confessed to several acts of vandalism at Holy Name Catholic Church, Steamboat police Capt. Joel Rae said Thursday evening.
According to an affidavit filed with the Routt County Court, Steamboat Springs Police Department officers were called to City Market at about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday after store employees reported watching Brede Halsnes take a sushi entree and stuff it into his clothing.
That was shortly after Halsnes was thought to have broken another window at the Catholic church on Oak Street.
Police have been investigating ongoing acts of vandalism at Steamboat churches in recent weeks, and on Wednesday, there was a witness who was able to provide suspect information to police.
Rae said Halsnes confessed to the Holy Name vandalism while talking with an FBI agent at the Routt County Jail on Thursday. Police think Halsnes may be responsible for the vandalism at the other churches, as well.
The FBI and U.S. Secret Service began helping Steamboat police after Wednesday’s shoplifting incident when police say Halsnes made numerous threats.
At City Market, Halsnes was uncooperative and told police he was “trained in martial arts and a very dangerous person,” according to an affidavit filed at the Routt County Court.
The situation escalated while police were booking Halsnes into the jail.
“Halsnes went on to utter more statements to the effect of him wanting to start World War III, how he intended to kill hundreds of cops, that all (expletive) Christians shall die, that he intends to kill as many (expletive) Christians and cops as possible, that he will personally assassinate George W. Bush and anyone who voted for him once he is let out,” the affidavit states.
The affidavit states Halsnes said he would kill the officers involved in his arrest as well as the jailers.
“He yelled that we should not let him out of the holding cell because he is a caged lion and no one could tame him,” the affidavit states.
Halsnes was being held without bond Thursday because of the statements police say he made and because he needed to be evaluated by a mental health professional.
Jailers had not been able to take Halsnes’ mug shot as of Thursday afternoon.
Police initially arrested Halsnes on suspicion of misdemeanor theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and felony attempting to influence a public servant. He now faces a criminal mischief charge with a hate crime enhancer related to the church vandalism. That charge could be a felony, but that ultimately will be up to the Routt County District Attorney’s Office, Rae said.
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com