Man accused of stealing safe changes plea to guilty

Published 10:17 am Monday, December 21, 2015

A 20-year-old accused of stealing a safe with two minors from a home Nov. 10 changed his plea to guilty to felony second-degree burglary as part of a plea agreement.

Duncan James Higgins was originally charged with felony second-degree burglary and misdemeanor aiding and abetting in a theft. Higgins was one of three people arrested 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.

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 the property owner’s phone charger and iPod ended up missing.

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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.

Mower County sheriff’s deputies found the 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.

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 possibly 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.