Man charged with burglarizing Steve’s Pizza; Receives other charges from three cases

Published 8:18 am Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brendan Charles Johnson, 35, of Brownsdale was charged on Tuesday in Mower County District Court with gross misdemeanor counterfeit currency-utter of possess, misdemeanor fifth-degree assault-fear of bodily harm and misdemeanor theft-take/use/transfer movable property without consent.

Brendan Charles Johnson, 35

He appeared again on Wednesday and was charged with gross misdemeanor counterfeit currency-utter or possess and misdemeanor theft in one case and felony third-degree burglary and felony theft-take/use/transfer movable property without consent in another case.

According to court documents, the owner of Steve’s Pizza contacted police on May 21 after discovering the door to his office had been forced open and about $1,200 in office cash and checks had been taken. The employee who closed the night before told police he had placed the money in the office and locked the door before leaving. A blue latex glove was on the floor outside the office and a second glove was found on the floor near an open storage area door. The owner indicated the storage area door was not normally open. The owner suspected the burglar or burglars came through the roof via a ladder in the storage area that led to a roof hatch.

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The owner said he suspected that two previously terminated employees might be responsible, naming Johnson as one, according to court documents. The employee that closed the night before told police Johnson had come in the prior evening to pick up an order and was “acting weird.”

On May 25, police arrested Garrett Dean Lukes, 26, of Austin for driving without a valid license in a vehicle that had been rented from Minneapolis by Johnson, court documents state. Inside, police allegedly found an altered check originally written to Steve’s Pizza. A search of the vehicle allegedly revealed five more written to Steve’s Pizza dated May 20.

A detective interviewed Lukes, who said that Johnson told him how to burglarize Steve’s Pizza and where the money could be located, according to court documents. Lukes allegedly said he stole about $1,500 and that Johnson kept the checks so he could alter them. The detective got a search warrant for Lukes’ cell phone, which allegedly showed a May 20 conversation between Lukes and Johnson planning the burglary.

On Friday, police were called to El Mariachi Restaurant over a counterfeit $100 bill Johnson used to pay for his meal, the court records said. The cashier showed the bill to another employee, who allegedly verified it was fake, but Johnson was gone when the cashier returned.

Johnson was arrested on Saturday after deputies were called to the Cenex gas station in Brownsdale about a male customer who could not pay for gas and was “causing problems.”

The clerk told police that Johnson raised his voice and shouted at her when she told him he needed to contact someone about paying for the gas. When he exited, she locked the door to keep him out. The deputies arrested Johnson and allegedly found two counterfeit $100 bills in his wallet. They also allegedly found two credit cards belonging to a woman, health insurance cards that belonged to two different women and social security card that belonged to a juvenile male.

Court documents state Johnson admitted to the burglary during an interview at the Mower County Jail. He alleged that Lukes did not share the money with him and that he told him “exactly where to go.” He denied any involvement with altering the checks.

A review of Johnson’s criminal record shows a prior conviction for theft.

Johnson will appear in court again on July 3.