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Austin man pleads guilty to mail theft and child neglect

An Austin man arrested after being caught on surveillance stealing an Amazon package pleaded guilty to several charges on Monday in Mower County District Court.

Andrew Spencer Brody, 36

Andrew Spencer Brody, 36, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony mail theft – knowingly obtained illegally – receive, possess, transfer, buy, conceal, one count of felony mail theft – intentionally removes mail from depository without claim of right – and one count of gross misdemeanor neglect of a child as part of a plea agreement.

Seventeen additional counts of felony mail theft – knowingly obtained illegally – receive, possess, transfer, buy, conceal – and one count of misdemeanor driving after revocation will be dismissed at the sentencing as part of the agreement.

Court documents state a man called police on July 16, 2019, and reported that an Amazon package was stolen from an area near his front door at his residence in Southwest Austin. The package had been delivered at 1:06 p.m. that day, but surveillance video showed a suspect stealing the package at about 1:26 p.m. and leaving in an older model Chevrolet with a spoiler on the back. The man reported the package contained guinea pig bedding that was not worth much money.

An officer located the suspect vehicle, a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu, early the following morning in the 200 block of Fourth Avenue Southeast. The vehicle was registered to Brody, who matched the description of the suspect in the video. The officer attempted to make contact with Brody at his residence, but only briefly spoke to his wife, Laura Brody.

Officers observed an Amazon box, plastic Amazon packaging, several envelopes and other pieces of mail, scissors, a flashlight and a sling shot through the window of the Chevrolet. An officer again tried to make contact with someone at the residence, but no one answered the door. The Chevrolet was then towed to the Mower County Law Enforcement Center pending a search warrant. Police also observed a dark colored 1999 Ford F150 parked in the driveway that matched the description of a pickup truck used in a similar crime on May 27, 2019, in the 800 block of 19th Avenue Southwest.

Law enforcement received a search warrant and found several pieces of mail that did not belong to Andrew or Laura Brody, including several with southwest addresses, an Amazon box missing its label and packaging materials and a package from the 900 block of 19th Avenue Southwest that had been stolen July 13, 2019.

Police then received a search warrant for Brody’s residence. No one answered when they came to the door and the search team gained entry into the main living area, which contained a large amount of clutter and garbage. They also noted rotten food and garbage throughout the residence and a clogged toilet in the basement, where police located Brody, Laura Brody and a juvenile female. Brody was arrested for mail theft and child neglect due to the uninhabitable condition of the residence. Laura Brody was also arrested for child neglect. The juvenile was placed in protective custody.

During a search of the residence, numerous pieces of mail were found that were not addressed to anyone at the house. Some were addressed to locations in Albert Lea and Rochester. Officers also located a .303 caliber bolt-action rifle and ammunition.

Brody agreed to speak with detectives at the jail, but was not forthcoming with answers and acted as if he was confused by the questions. He then stated he did not wish to answer questions without a lawyer present.

A review of Brody’s criminal record shows prior convictions for theft.

Brody will be sentenced on Nov. 12.