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Burglars blowtorch safe, bag $100K in guns

Three area men allegedly broke into a Pleasant Valley Township home, cut open a safe with a blowtorch and stole more than $100,000 worth of guns.

Brian Reicks, 19, Jacob Mogren, 18, and Isaac Morse, 20, also allegedly stole several motorcycles and other equipment from the property.

Reicks of Riceville, Iowa, pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree burglary, one count of theft of a firearm, and two counts of motor vehicle theft Thursday in Mower County District Court. Mogren, formerly of LeRoy, is due in court on July 2. Morse will soon be charged.

According to court complaints, the men allegedly broke into a home on April 8, where they tipped over a gun safe, cut open the bottom of it, and stole more than 85 guns.

They allegedly stored the guns at Morse’s home in Riceville.

The victim told police two 1975 Norton Commando 850cc motorcycles were also stolen. Police later recovered them from a La Crescent, Minnesota, man who told police he paid about $1,600 for the motorcycles from a man pretending to be the victim.

Morse sold five guns to a friend for $500 apiece. That friend sold the guns to someone else for $300 and a .44 magnum revolver.

Morse’s friend allegedly bought another 17 stolen guns, then another 60 guns, to sell to his acquaintance. He received $2,500 and several guns for the first shipment, and $5,800 and several guns for the second shipment. The friend later told police he heard Mogren wanted to get rid of the guns because they were slightly rusty and smelled.

The victim reported the robbery to Mower County Sheriff’s deputies on April 20 and said Mogren had admitted to the theft. During an interview, Reicks told police Mogren led them to believe the victim had given them permission to break into the gun safe as he couldn’t get it open. Reicks and Morse also told police Mogren said they could keep whatever guns they find inside of the safe if they successfully got it open.

Mogren told police he hadn’t received anything from the break-in and only sold a .22 caliber revolver with a scope for about $100. He also said Reicks and Morse were the ones in charge of fencing the guns.

Reicks later told police he had two shotguns belonging to Mogren’s relatives but denied breaking into the home. Police eventually searched Reicks’s property, where they found another motorcycle, two motorbikes and various equipment that belonged to the victim.

Shortly after interviewing the suspects, deputies received information from the Mitchell County Sheriff’s department about Mogren allegedly confessing to stealing the guns and selling them out of state.

Another person also came forward to tell police Mogren had admitted all three suspects had robbed the Pleasant Vally Home. Mogren allegedly said he stole the guns to get money to buy a truck and car parts.

Deputies recovered 79 guns from a Riceville home, and recovered several more from a Rochester man. The victim is still missing a 1894 Remington double barrel shotgun worth $1,500, a handgun worth $75 and a pirate knife in a brass sheath worth $500.