Michael D. Berger

Washington Police arrested Michael D. Berger, 54, at a residence on Paradise Lane around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening without incident.

Det. Sgt. Steve Sitzes said officers went to the residence on a tip Berger was there. The female resident denied Berger was in the house but allowed officers to search and he was found hiding the basement under the stairs.

Gasconade County Prosecuting Attorney Mary Weston charged Berger for allegedly making terroristic threats against his estranged girlfriend and her coworkers at the Tin Mill Steakhouse in Hermann on Sept. 4.

He is being transported to gasconade County where he will be held on $50,000 cash only bond.

Local law enforcement reported that Berger called the business at approximately 10:30 a.m. and stated the female victim had COVID-19 and he was going to call the health department and the St. Louis area television station Channel 2 to have the restaurant shut down.

Berger called again stating he knew the victim would be there, and he would bring his gun up there to shoot her. He also told staff they’d better get her out of there.

Just before 1 a.m.,  Berger called again and said, “I’m outside. I’m outside, and I have a gun. Tell her to get inside.”

Investigators with the Hermann Police Department were able to trace Berger’s telephone number, and it was confirmed by his probation officer and his ex-girlfriend.

Due to the severity of the threat, Berger’s phone was “pinged,” and his general whereabouts were given as Washington.

Two days prior to the incident, an order of protection was issued in Gasconade County listing Berger as the respondent and his ex-girlfriend as the petitioner.

The probable cause statement stated that at the time the threats were received at the Tin Mill, 15 employees were present and the calls forced the restaurant to close.

Berger is currently on probation/parole for arson and tampering with an electronic monitoring device, according to the statement.

His past criminal convictions include burglary, stealing, aggravated stalking, property damage and resisting arrest.

The Gasconade County prosecuting attorney’s office confirmed Berger is not in police custody.