Three plead not guilty to alleged burglary attempt

Published 6:51 am Friday, April 2, 2010

Three people, one of whom is from Austin, pleaded not guilty to multiple criminal charges Thursday for an alleged burglary attempt last week in the southwest part of town.

Omar Daniello Rangel, 26, of Austin, pleaded not guilty to two separate counts of first-degree burglary — one for possessing a dangerous weapon and one for attempting to enter a residence — in Mower County court.

Also facing charges are Jonathan William Talamantes, 23, and Hilary Jayne Flores, 24, both of Albert Lea. Flores’ charges are identical to Rangel’s, while Talamantes faces an additional felony count for illegal firearm possession by a convicted felon. The two Albert Lea residents also entered not guilty pleas Thursday.

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According to a police report, an officer on routine patrol at around 10:40 p.m. on March 22 in the 700 block of 10th Avenue Southwest was notified by a resident that he had heard a loud crash and then a car speed off down an alley. The man said the commotion had come from across the street at a neighbor’s house.

Police were able to track down the car and arrest the three suspects. Inside the vehicle, they found a baseball bat and a BB gun concealed in food wrappers, the report states.

Officers also spoke with the resident of the home where the attempted break-in allegedly occurred. The 18-year-old male renter said he heard the crash at the back door, and he went to investigate. He then saw two males at the back door, one of whom was carrying the bat. Both men fled into a car in the alley and sped off, the report states.

The renter was later able to identify the man with the bat at Talamantes and the man with him as Rangel.

Initially, both Flores and Talamantes denied any involvement in the incident. The two said they had been at an area barbecue that night and were pulled over after they left, according to a criminal complaint.

However, Rangel told authorities that he and the other two had stopped at the 18-year-old’s house, and that Talamantes had used the bat to smash in the back door. Rangel said he was scared to provide this information in front of Talamantes during their arrests, the complaint states.

Authorities then interviewed Flores again. She changed her story somewhat, saying that she took the car to the house because Talamantes and Rangel were visiting a “friend.” She said she waited in the car with music on and didn’t hear a window smash, the complaint states. Flores said she then drove the two away before being pulled over.

Flores also said the gun was purchased by her and Talamantes, who was identified as her boyfriend. She said it was for her son to “shoot cans” and was not meant to be used in a threatening way. The gun’s loader was found on Talamantes during his arrest, the complaint states.

Records indicate that Talamantes has been convicted of felonies three times before — once in 2004 for aggravated robbery, once in 2006 for fleeing an officer in a vehicle, and once again in 2006 for assault. After denying involvement in the incident during his first interview with police, Talamantes declined a second interview following Rangel’s admission.

The three are set to return to court again next month for pre-trial hearings.