Watchful citizen helps solve burglary

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 1999

Thanks to an alert citizen who gave a description of two subjects, a burglary at Century Liquor Store has been solved.

Friday, December 31, 1999

Thanks to an alert citizen who gave a description of two subjects, a burglary at Century Liquor Store has been solved.

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Actually, two burglaries. The same subjects twice allegedly robbed the business within the span of five hours early Thursday morning.

Two juvenile males, each 13, were arrested and charged in connection with the burglaries. A 13-year-old female juvenile will be charged by complaint summons, while another male juvenile may also be charged after the Mower County Attorney reviews the evidence.

According to an Austin Police Department report, officers discovered a door kicked in at Century Liquor Store at the intersection of 4th Street SE and East Oakland Avenue near 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Wet footprints were visible on the carpeted floor interior.

Because the business has been closed for some time, Brandon M. Maloney, Spring Valley, the owner, told officers and they agreed there was no loss.

The building was secured and officers left the scene.

Then, officers noticed the plywood nailed over the door had been removed when they returned to the business at 5:58 a.m. Thursday.

Upon investigating, they discovered the business had been entered a second time that morning.

An unidentified citizen, who lives near the business, approached officers investigating the burglary and said he confronted two juvenile boys prowling in his backyard after he awoke that morning to go to work.

He described the youths to police officers and later Thursday morning, the pair were spotted and taken into custody.

When questioned at the Austin-Mower County law enforcement center, one of the male subjects admitted burglarizing the business.

According to his account, he and two other boys were at a girlfriend’s house, drinking alcoholic beverages while the teenage girl’s mother slept.

The youth said he and his accomplice walked to the business, broke in and stole two 12-packs of beer and returned to the teenage girl’s home and resumed drinking.

After awhile, they decided they needed more alcoholic beverages and after listening to a police scanner radio, they learned the officers and left the scene and decided they would return to steal more alcohol.

The the second attempt to burglarize the business, the two 13-year-olds took their 13 year old female friend and another teenage male with them. The latter were "lookouts" while the original burglars pried the plywood loose and reentered the business. In the second burglary, they stole three bottles of wine, beer and cigarettes.

Police went to the home of the female friend and confronted her. Initially, the female subject was belligerent and obnoxious, according to the police report and refused to cooperative. Later, she changed her mind and told the same story as the first teenage male had told about the events of early Thursday morning.

No estimate on the value of the alcoholic beverages stolen was available, but an estimated $348 damages was reported to the business.

Austin Police Chief Paul M. Philipp credited the witness with coming forward and assisting police in solving the burglaries.

"This witness was willing to come forward with a description that was so complete and so accurate, that it was of significant importance in solving the crime," Philipp said. "He was very, very descriptive of the individuals he encountered at the scene and it helped us a great deal."

The juveniles charged in connection with the crime were released in the recognizance of their parents.