Man charged for stealing safe

Published 8:01 am Sunday, November 15, 2015

A 20-year-old accused of stealing a safe with two minors from a home Tuesday was charged with felony second-degree burglary and misdemeanor aiding and abetting in a theft Thursday in Mower County court.



Duncan James Higgins was one of three people arrested Tuesday afternoon after allegedly stealing a safe from a home on the 700 block of Ninth Street Southeast and hiding it behind a garage under leaves and sticks.

Austin police responded to a burglary report around 1:05 p.m. Police spoke with neighbors, who said they believed three juveniles were involved and had fled west on Seventh Avenue.

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The homeowner reported a gray safe with about $200, birth certificates, passports, wedding rings and other property had been taken.

The homeowner had contacted police on Oct. 28 when the victim’s daughter was “hanging out” with other minors at the residence when they should have been at school, and they property owner’s phone charger and iPod ended up missing.

The daughter, who denied being involved, later told police the two minors involved likely searched the house in October and found the safe. She told police the two were “members of a gang and violent” and she hadn’t had contact with them since, according to a court complaint.

Officers searched the area and found the safe covered with leaves and branches behind a garage on the 700 block of Eighth Street Southeast.

Shortly after, Mower County sheriff’s deputies spotted three males crawling over rocks below the Roosevelt Bridge, which spans the Cedar River on Fourth Street Southeast.

Deputies arrested a 20-year-old man at the bridge, but two minors — a 17-year-old male and a 15-year-old male — fled and were eventually apprehended at the corner of First street and Third Avenue Southwest.

Officers then located a gray safe taken from the home which was hidden behind a garage and covered with leaves and branches. It has been taken for evidence.

According to the complaint, Higgins denied ever entering the residence, but he said he ran into the two minors at Taco John’s when they were talking about taking the safe because it contained money and possible a gun.

Higgins told police he stayed in the alley while the minors entered the house, but he wanted $200 for helping, according to the report.

The minors were taken to Many Rivers Juvenile Detention Center in Rochester.