St. Olaf student faces felony charges after packaging for gun magazines found outside dorms

A St. Olaf student is now facing multiple criminal charges alleging he was conspiring to commit a crime.

Northfield police announced that 20-year-old Waylon Sieber Kurts, from Montpelier, Vt., was arrested last week after items relating to a potentially violent threat were found on campus.

Prosecutors charged Kurts Monday with conspiracy to commit second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit threats of violence, making terroristic threats and conspiracy to commit theft.

According to court documents, the investigation into Kurts all started after St. Olaf custodians found two empty packages for high-capacity gun magazines in a garbage can outside dorm rooms at around 11 a.m. on April 5. They noted the packaging belonged to Kurts but was addressed to a home off campus.

Staff members of the college’s public safety team then searched Kurts’ dorm room and found two knives, a tactical vest, propane canisters, gun earmuffs, pistol and rifle magazines, an empty box of ammunition and other items, including a notebook, the court documents state.

Inside that notebook, a criminal complaint states that Northfield police found:

  • A hand-drawn map of the college’s recreational facility, including arrows showing an apparent exit path.
  • A detailed plan to steal ammunition from Walmart with help from two others and what was needed to successfully steal the ammunition.
  • A list of equipment for radios under a preface of “spending more money should only be done if more capability is a direct result.”
  • Notes with instructions on creating a “shoot house,” which law enforcement said is an indoor firing range typically used to train military and law enforcement in close-quarters combat.

Police then started searching for Kurts and eventually took him into custody outside a business in Edina the following day.

The complaint notes that Kurts’ cellphone had a text conversation with another person regarding radios and various frequencies, several conversations about guns and building rifles, talks of shipping items to different locations so packages wouldn’t be flagged as suspicious, and a picture of a full box of rifle magazines on a school bench with the text, “Kids’ve got no idea whats in here, haha.” They also discussed buying handguns from unlicensed sellers, the complaint states.

Inside his vehicle, authorities allegedly found another notebook with extensive notes on combat and guns, including a page that was titled, “things to be Good at” that said:

  • “Within 7 yards make every shot as fast as you can prep trigger. 2-3” circle
  • “7/10 people shot with handguns survive. Shoot a lot
  • “Shoot a person in 3 areas:
    • “Upper thorasic,
    • “T-zone on face,
    • “Pelvis is a good target,
    • “Train these areas.”

The complaint doesn’t note any guns in Kurts’ possession and adds that his family told law enforcement that all of his guns are at their home in Vermont.

It also notes the school’s public safety team had one other previous interaction with Kurts, which took place at around 2 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2022. It states that a public safety officer saw Kurts looking into several different vehicles on campus and, when the officer approached Kurts, he replied that he was trying to act suspiciously to see if an officer would come over to him. He then gave a fake name before officers learned who he really was.

Kurts had a bail hearing Monday morning and had his bail set at $100,000 with conditions — which include not having any dangerous weapons — or $200,000 without conditions. His next hearing is set for April 21.

If convicted, terroristic threats carries the largest possible penalty at five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.