Two charged in Adams burglary; Multiple firearms among items stolen

Published 8:53 am Friday, January 4, 2019

Two suspects in a Monday burglary in Adams were charged on Thursday in Mower County District Court.

Dustin Palfrey Cummings, 41

Dustin Palfrey Cummings, 41, of Austin was charged with felony first-degree burglary-possess dangerous weapon, felony theft-take/use transfer movable property without consent and eight counts of felony violent felon in possession of a firearm.

Michael Joseph Winkels, 52, of Adams was charged with felony second degree drugs-possess 10 grams of methamphetamine-firearm, felony first-degree burglary-possess dangerous weapon and felony theft-take/use/transfer movable property without consent.

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According to the court complaint, Mower County deputies were dispatched at 3:07 p.m. on Monday to a residence in the 67000 block of 150th Street in Adams Township. A woman at the residence told dispatch she was returning home and saw a silver van with a male driver leaving her driveway. When she went into the residence, she noticed a laptop computer, ammunition, and a green safe containing several firearms, among other items, had been stolen. Another green safe at the residence had been damaged.

Michael Joseph Winkels, 52

A deputy spotted the suspect van, a 2005 Ford Freestar, heading west on County Road 3. The deputy stopped the van near the intersection of Highway 56 and identified the driver as Winkels. When the deputy told him the reason for the stop, Winkels appeared agitated and nervous. The deputy asked where he was coming from and Winkels said he had been at the home of C.S. in Adams to fix the water heater on a camper. He said C.S. was not home at the time, but saw his wife coming into the driveway when he was leaving.

The deputy then telephoned C.S. and asked if Winkels was supposed to be on his property to work on a water heater. C.S. said “no” and informed the deputy that he sold his camper in July 2018 and Winkels had no reason to be on his property. The deputy then asked Winkels for permission to search the van, which Winkels declined. A detective then arrived on the scene with C.S., who observed several pieces of his property in plain view inside the van. Winkels was then arrested and the van was towed the Mower County Law Enforcement Center.

While at the Mower County Jail, Winkels was found to be in possession of 2.2 grams of methamphetamine.

Deputies searched the van and found a black bag containing a Ruger LCP .300 caliber pistol, vehicle tabs belonging to Cummings, two explosive devices, 16.77 grams of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine pipe and a plastic straw used for methamphetamine consumption. They also found a laptop computer, tannerite exploding targets, miscellaneous tools, clay pigeons, shotgun shells, a sledgehammer with green paint transfer (the same color as the damaged safe), 4G hotspot and clothing,

A relative of the victims told investigators that he had driven past the victim’s residence at 1 p.m. on Monday and had seen a Chevrolet SUV pulling a trailer that was just west of the residence. He recognized the Chevrolet as belonging to someone (later identified as Cummings) associated with Winkels.

A detective interviewed Winkels, who admitted to using methamphetamine, but denied being involved in the burglary and having any knowledge of the items found in the van. He also said the van belonged to “Jesse” and “Maria,” who lived near Skinner’s Hill in Austin.

A deputy later received information that some of the stolen items were possibly at a building in the 1300 block of Fourth Street Southeast in Austin. The deputy contacted the landlord, who said he leased the part of the building to Cummings. Law enforcement executed a search warrant on the property and found Cummings inside with a woman and two minor children. Police seized a Henry .22 caliber rifle with five rounds of ammunition, a .45 caliber round of ammunition and miscellaneous drug items found inside.

A detective spoke to Cummings, who denied involvement in and thefts or burglaries, saying the woman he was with had allowed Winkels to drive the van and that Winkels had “shown up” with guns in the van. He said he believed Winkels had left the rifle at his residence “to set me up.” He initially denied knowing the location of the other stolen guns, but then indicated he had taken them to another Austin home. Cummings was also able to accurately identify the other items in the black bag found in the van and was arrested.

Detectives went to the residence Cummings indicated and made contact with a man who said Cummings and another male had shown up at 9 p.m. on Monday and took approximately seven firearms to his basement. He said Cummings appeared anxious to get rid of the firearms and he did not feel comfortable with the situation, so he took the firearms and a gun safe to a storage unit in the 1600 block of 31st Street Southwest. He took the detectives to the storage unit, where they found and seized:

• Mossberg .22 caliber rifle;

• Thompson/Center .223 caliber rifle;

• Montgomery Ward Hercules double-barrel 12 gauge shotgun;

• Savage Edge .243 caliber rifle;

• Savage Axis .22-.250 caliber rifle;

• Remington 870 Express Magnum shotgun;

• Savage B-Mag .17  caliber rifle; and

• Stack-On gun safe.

A review of Cummings’ criminal history shows prior convictions for damage to property, theft, burglary and aggravated robbery.

A review of Winkels’ criminal history shows a prior conviction for a minor theft charge.

Both will appear in court again on Jan. 17.