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Minnesota man accused of stealing antique dollhouse

A burglary in progress was reported Tuesday night at the Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop in Duluth. Nicholas Wayne Devault told police that he just wanted to get a gift for his niece.

Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop in Duluth
Dollhouses are displayed in the Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop at 2031 W. Superior St., Duluth.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — A trail of broken glass from the Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop led to a Duluth man armed with a crowbar and an antique dollhouse.

Nicholas Wayne Devault, 36, was arrested Tuesday night, Aug. 30, after he was allegedly seen breaking a window at the Lincoln Park business and removing the elaborate object from a display case.

Nicholas Wayne Devault.jpg
Nicholas Wayne Devault

"Unprovoked, (Devault) told officers that he just wanted to get a gift for his niece and was sorry," a criminal complaint notes. "Although the state concedes that the high-quality and -value dollhouse clearly would make a fantastic present for his niece, defendant did not have consent nor did he purchase the dollhouse from Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop."

The Duluth Police Department was called to the store just after 9 p.m. on the report of a burglary in progress. The complaint states that multiple witnesses reported seeing a man wearing a mask, gray sweatshirt and black sweatpants break the window with a crowbar.

Officers quickly found the suspect matching that description and carrying said tool, along with a "large, multilevel antique dollhouse." The complaint did not provide an estimated value of the product.

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 The Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop in Duluth
A sign for the Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage Shop hanging above the front entrance of the store in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune

After being given a Miranda warning, Devault allegedly admitted "that he was withdrawing and that voices in his head told him to break in and take the dollhouse as a gift for his niece." The complaint states that multiple witnesses also positively identified Devault as the perpetrator.

Devault was arraigned Thursday in State District Court on a felony count of second-degree burglary.

Court records show he has several prior criminal convictions, including property damage, assault and terroristic threats.

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Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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