Austin teen charged with multiple counts of burglary

Published 6:10 pm Friday, September 24, 2021

Stolen items allegedly found on suspect’s property

An Austin teen police believe is responsible for several recent area burglaries made his first appearance on Wednesday in Mower County District Court.

Elias James Wells, 18

Elias James Wells, 18, has been charged with felony first-degree burglary – dwelling – occupied – non-accomplice present, felony first-degree burglary – possess dangerous weapon/explosive, felony second-degree burglary – dwelling, felony possession of stolen property, gross misdemeanor theft – take/use/transfer movable property – no consent, gross misdemeanor third-degree damage to property – reduce value $501-$1000, and two counts each of felony third-degree burglary – steal/commit felony or gross misdemeanor, felony theft – take/use/transfer movable property – no consent – and misdemeanor fourth-degree damage to property – intentional damage – other circumstances.

According to court documents, police were called on Sept. 18 on a complaint that a car had been broken into at a residence in the 800 block of 11th Avenue Southwest. The victim reported that she was awakened at 2:45 a.m. by what looked like her car alarm lights going off and saw someone carrying a large box and walking westbound through the alley where her car was parked. She went out to her car and found that her driver’s side window was smashed out and a $700 12” subwoofer/amplifier Rockford Fosgate combo had been stolen from the trunk.

Police took another report at 9:40 a.m. on Sept. 18 of a burglary at a residence in the 1000 block of 11th Avenue Southwest. The victim said she left her house at 1:20 a.m. and returned at 8:45 a.m. and found that two laptop computers and a gaming controller with an attached smart clip were missing. She later reported that two PlayStation controllers were also missing.

The victim showed police a tire iron that the suspect had left on the back steps. The victim said she left her back door unlocked, so there was no forced entry.

Police took another burglary report at about 10:44 a.m. on Sept. 19 at a residence in the 600 block of 19th Street Northwest. The victim reported that someone had entered his garage and stolen a Smith and Wesson .380 M&P Bodyguard loaded with six hollow point bullets from the center console of his vehicle, as well as a box of ammunition. The firearm and ammunition were valued at about $425.

About $300 was stolen from a wallet inside another vehicle.

The victim said there was no forced entry so he was not sure if he forgot to lock the door or if the door was locked, but not latched.

The victim also mentioned that his neighbor had a camera on his front door. Police contacted the neighbor, who reviewed the camera footage and observed someone shining a light in his front door, then taking his Amazon package off the front step before returning it.

A deputy observed a picture of the suspect caught on camera and recognized him as Wells.

An officer was dispatched on Sept. 20 on another burglary report in the 1000 block of 10th Avenue Southwest. The victim reported that the door to his detached garage had been kicked in and the door frame was broken. The officer photographed a footprint on the door.

The victim indicated that the suspect took a bag from the garage, emptied it, and put a small amp in the bag. He said the suspect left the bag on the fence at the end of his property.

The officer then took another burglary report at a neighboring residence in the 1000 block of 10th Avenue Southwest. The victim reported his family was out of town and returned to find their detached garage had been broken into. He reported the garage door was kicked in, the frame was broken, and one of the cameras on his garage was broken on the ground. He estimated the cost to fix the damage to the frame to be about $500.

The victim reported three security cameras were stolen –  a Momentum Security Camera valued at $50, a Uniden Camera valued at $100, and a Panasonic Camera in the box valued at $800-$1000. The camera that was damaged was a Momentum camera which also cost $50. The victim stated the cameras were located inside the garage as well as outside and on the shed. He also said the cameras had SD cards and the SD card from the broken camera was missing.

Due to the similarities of the burglaries in the area, Wells was mentioned as a suspect.

At about 10:23 a.m. on Sept. 20, police executed a search warrant on Wells’s residence in the 500 block of 18th Street Northwest. The search warrant also included a 2006 Nissan Altima. Wells agreed to speak to police and said the stolen firearm was in the corner of his bedroom and that the stolen $300 was in his wallet. Police also located the stolen computers and gaming controllers, as well as shoes that matched the shoe print on one of the kicked-in doors, in Wells’s bedroom. The stolen subwoofer/amplifier combo was located in the trunk of the Nissan.

A review of Wells’s criminal history shows he is currently awaiting disposition on charges of felony second- and third-degree burglary and felony vehicle theft.

Wells will appear in court again on Oct. 4.