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Valley City man charged with stalking, burglary

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – A Valley City man has been arrested and charged with burglary and stalking after he was caught in trail camera images as he allegedly tried to break into a woman’s garage on Thursday, Police Chief Fred Thompson said.

Corey Mertz, 37, 240 8th St. N.W., faces two Class C felony burglary charges and a Class A misdemeanor stalking charge, Thompson said in a news release. Additional charges are expected.

Police said a woman came to the police station July 29 to say she believed her house was being broken into. She said that over the previous two months, she found that several items had gone missing from her residence, including feminine razors, a swimsuit bottom, and other intimate clothing items.

She then left the area for a vacation, and had her garage door secured with a board and screws. When she returned, she found the garage door had been forced, police reported.

The woman then set up a trail camera to try to get images of any trespassers, police reported.

On Thursday, the camera caught images of a man wearing a light-colored short-sleeve T-shirt and sweatpants, police reported. The victim then brought the images to the police.

With the help of the victim and other leads, police said they were able to identify Mertz as the suspect.

Police then got a search warrant and searched Mertz’s residence for property taken from the victim.

The search found not only items the victim had believed missing, but many other pieces of clothing also belonging to her, police reported.

As part of the search warrant, computers and other electronic storage devices were taken to have their contents analyzed, police reported.

Mertz, who had been under surveillance while the search of his residence was under way, was later taken into custody as he was driving in Valley City, police reported.

Police request anyone with information on the case to call (701) 845-3110.