Story of South St. Paul burglary goes viral

Nicholas Wig

Suspect's undoing? Facebook sign-in at victim's house

South St. Paul made international headlines recently -- not for a reason one might expect (or hope for), but for a good old-fashioned "dumb" criminal story with a newfangled twist.

Nicholas Steven Wig, 27, is facing a second-degree burglary charge, after leading police to his identity by signing into his Facebook page while allegedly breaking into a South St. Paul home, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court.

The South St. Paul man apparently left his profile open on the homeowner's computer, and left behind a pile of wet clothes and shoes.

According to the complaint, police responded to a residential burglary June 19 along the 600 block of Concord Street North.

Cash, a checkbook, credit cards, keys and a watch were missing from the residence. Near the computer where Wig allegedly accessed Facebook was a "very wet" pile of jeans, a belt and tennis shoes, which didn't belong to the victim or his son.

The victim saw Wig near 11th Avenue and Congress around 11:23 a.m. June 19 (he recognized Wig from his Facebook profile picture). He tipped off police and they found the suspect, who was wearing a watch that looked like the victim's, the complaint said.

"When asked if he had items that did not belong to him, (Wig) stated he was going to give everything back," the complaint said.

Police found car keys and an iPod shuffle in Wig's pocket. The victim confirmed the watch, keys and music player were the ones stolen from his house, the complaint said.

After being transported to jail June 19, Wig apparently admitted he entered the dwelling through the unlocked front door, changed from his rain-soaked clothes into clothes he found in the house and logged into Facebook. He reportedly told police he stole property, some of which he brought back to his mom's house.

After local media reported the case June 24, the story of Wig's easy capture quickly spread to national and international news outlets, including companies based in New York, Jamaica and Pakistan.

The victim, James Wood, described Wig as "the world's dumbest criminal" in one interview, spawning more headlines splashed with the new nickname.

Wig is set to appear in court for an omnibus hearing July 15. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Wig's past convictions include a felony for second-degree burglary, according to court records.

--Kaitlyn Roby


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