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Northwoods Break-In Suspects Arraigned

Two former Finlandia University students are now facing charges for allegedly stealing guns from a Hancock store.

Alexander Santiago (18) of Chicago--left;  Juan Carlos Pereyra (18) of Florida--right
Alexander Santiago (18) of Chicago–left; Juan Carlos Pereyra (18) of Florida–right

18-year-old Alexander Santiago and 18-year-old Juan Carlos Pereyra are charged with Breaking and Entering with Intent, a 20 year felony, and Larceny of Firearms, a 5 year felony.

The charges stem from a break-in at Northwoods Sporting Goods in Hancock early Saturday morning.

Hancock Police say three semiautomatic handguns and two boxes of .40 caliber ammunition that were stolen from the store were found later that same day at a dorm room in Finlandia Hall on the university’s campus.

Santiago and Pereyra were arrested at the scene shortly after.

A third suspect is believed to have served as a look-out during the alleged robbery.

The two out-of-state men were students at Finlandia, but have since been banned from campus.

Hancock Police says this incident is not believed to be related to the dismissal of five other students last week.

Hancock Police Chief Wayne Butler said, “This is an isolated incident. This was an incident that actually took place off campus. Unfortunately, the folks that decided to break into the business are students at Finlandia and, with the guns being taken, they were obviously taken back to the Finlandia campus.”

Police believe the guns were stolen with the intent to sell them out of the area and not for use locally.

The university sent out a Campus Security Alert Saturday evening saying there was no immediate threat to people’s safety, but additional safety measures have been put in place.

Butler said, “What we’re doing is we’re working with Finlandia Security and the faculty and staff at the university to increase extra security, folks on staff more often and throughout the night, as well as increasing patrol presence of officer through the parking lots at night.”

The two suspects are being held on a $50,000/10% or $5,000 bond and are currently lodged in the Houghton County Jail.

Probable Cause hearings are scheduled for December 27th and Preliminary Exams will be on January 4th.

Hancock Police, Houghton Police, Finlandia Security, Michigan Tech Police and Public Services and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives collaborated on the investigation.

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