Five area people have been arrested for stealing puppies from a nature center in Fayette County.

Authorities filed charges against the following suspects on Monday: Michelle Teel, 31, of Hawkeye; James Degreif, 18, of Wadena; and three juveniles from Hawkeye. Each was charged with third-degree burglary. The three minors were referred to Juvenile Court Services.

Officials said the charges are connected to a recent incident at the Gilbertson Nature Center in Elgin. On Wednesday, a park ranger called called Fayette County sheriff's officials after discovering that the petting zoo had been broken into, and two puppies were stolen.

Photo from Fayette Co. Sheriff
Photo from Fayette Co. Sheriff

Following a two-day investigation, sheriff's officials recovered both puppies. The unharmed dogs have since been returned to the nature center.

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