Woman pleads not guilty to burglarizing hotel

Published 6:35 am Friday, April 16, 2010

A Rochester woman accused of burglarizing the Windmill Hotel in January pleaded not guilty to two felony charges Thursday.

Shelly Anne Barbian, 32, pleaded not guilty to third-degree burglary and theft charges — both felonies.

Barbian and Brian Keith Rathbun, 44, both face burglary and theft charges after allegedlly deciding to steal from the hotel while Rathbun was allegedly waiting to buy drugs.

According to police complaints, the incident was first reported to the Mower County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 3. The manager of the Dexter-based hotel said she had found a number of “ransacked” rooms. She also said the front desk was apparently rifled through and a set of master keys were missing.

Because of slow business, the manager said the hotel was closed at the time to general patronage. She said the only person staying in the hotel was a 56-year-old man who resided at the hotel on a long-term basis.

Authorities spoke with this man. He said as part of his living arrangements, he did nightly inspections. The night before the burglary was reported, he noticed nothing odd at around 7:30 p.m. as he walked around the hotel. He said he did hear a loud noise later that night but did not investigate, the complaint states.

On Jan. 4, a detective from the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department called Mower County authorities. He asked if they happened to be investigating a burglary at the Windmill, because Rathbun had been apprehended with a large number of the hotel’s bar tokens in his possession.

Mower County deputies learned that the other missing items, which included the keys, a video surveillance system, a small TV and a number of bottles of liquor, were also found with Rathbun. A few days after that, Mower County authorities discovered shoe prints outside one of the hotel’s doors that were matched to Rathbun’s boots, the complaint states.

In addition, footage from the recovered surveillance system showed Rathbun and a woman entering the hotel together. Hotel logs also indicated that Rathbun had checked in on Jan. 2, which the manager said she had forgotten about initially.

She said she recalled that he came to the hotel and asked for a room for him and his girlfriend because he was experiencing vehicle problems.

A woman identified as being with Rathbun, Brandi Kay Josselyn, 38, was arrested March 11. However, an incarcerated Rathbun told authorities that they had the wrong person.

He said the woman with him was in fact Barbian, the complaint states.

Rathbun went on to explain that he was at the hotel to buy methamphetamine from another man. He said Barbian was the girlfriend of that other man and that she was monitoring him while the other man went to retrieve the drugs. Rathbun said he and Barbian checked into the hotel together, then later decided to steal the various items.

It is unclear whether the drug sale occurred and whether the other man could face any criminal charges.