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Man suspected of attempted Sauk Prairie Market robbery says he was on drugs at the time
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Man suspected of attempted Sauk Prairie Market robbery says he was on drugs at the time

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Police have arrested a man in connection to the attempted armed robbery of a Prairie du Sac grocery store after searching for the suspect using surveillance images.

Donald Lloyd Burkhalter, 59, has been charged with felony attempted armed robbery. He was released from jail on a $1,000 cash bond Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, Burkhalter had his Lone Rock home searched Jan. 16 after officers with the Sauk Prairie Police Department were able to get a search warrant for Burkhalter’s cell phone and his residence on North Mill Street.

Burkhalter admitted to officer Andrew Lewis that he had intended to rob Sauk Prairie Market, 645 Third St., but changed his mind. He told Lewis that he had been gambling and smoking crack cocaine for three days before the incident.

The day of the attempted robbery, Jan. 6, Burkhalter said he had been smoking the drug in the parking lot of the Ho-Chunk casino in Madison before driving around for hours. Upon seeing the store, Burkhalter said he decided he would rob it.

A cashier told authorities that she was approached by a man who lifted his shirt to reveal what looked like the black handle of a handgun. According to the complaint, Burkhalter said it was not a real firearm, but an airsoft gun. He didn’t remember showing the cashier the weapon or lifting his shirt, he added. When another worker turned around to ask the man if he was the person inquiring about a missing grocery item, Burkhalter walked away. According to the complaint, Burkhalter said he did remember seeing the worker was a young girl who had a “dope” face and then realized the scheme was a bad idea and left.

Two tips gained through the circulation of photos taken from surveillance footage aided in identifying Burkhalter as the suspect. Upon receiving the tips, officers searched public records and social media for Burkhalter. One officer noted that in a picture on his Facebook profile, Burkhalter had a blue bandana around his neck, just as the man in the surveillance footage did.

Burkhalter is scheduled to return Thursday to Sauk County Circuit Court.

Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget or contact her at 608-745-3513.

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