Austin man, already on probation, charged in break-ins

Published 6:47 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

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An Austin man already on probation from three separate incidents of burglary and theft, is facing three more felony charges for another rash of burglaries.

Elias James Wells, 19

Elias James Wells, 19, has been charged with felony first degree burglary of an occupied dwelling, first degree burglary while in posssession of a dangerous weapon and first degree attempted burlgary of an occupied dwelling.

These latest charges come on top of three other cases in which he was found guilty. In February 2022 he was sentenced to five years probation for theft of a vehicle, first degree burglary possession of dangerous weapons/explosive and second degree burglary of a dwelling.

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In those cases he avoided 12 months and one day, 58 months and 28 months in prison; however, he’s currently being held in Mower County Jail without bond or bail after it was revoked earlier this week.

According to the court complaint, Austin police responded to the 2900 block of Eighth Avenue SW for a report of an unknown subject attempting to gain entry into an occupied dwelling. According to the homeowner, he had been reading when he heard a vehicle drive down his deadend street and noticed a subject walking in his backyard near his deck and back door.

The homeowner investigated and discovered a male trying to gain entry to the house through a backyard. The subject fled when the homeowner turned on a flood light. The suspect was described as a white male around six-feet tall with a mustache and some facial hair.

Soon after the homeowner told a dispatcher that he could see the same subject with a flashlight across the street at a neighbor’s house. He also discovered the screen door had been cut.

Officers located a shoe print leading up to the back steps that were consistent with Nike Air Force One shoes.

An officer then investigated the house across the street and noticed that the insulated entry door was open. After an initial pass around the house, the officer made contact with the first homeowner and then made a secondary walk-around of the second house. This time he noticed a service door on the side of the house was open.

After making several announcements, police made entry into the house and made contact with residents inside the home, who allowed officers to further search the house, during which they located a long rifle style pellet gun leaning against a rear exit door.

A subject at the house confirmed that the gun had been moved from its primary location and that nobody in the house had moved it. Officers continued clearing the house and noticed that a door heading into the garage was open.

While officers searched the garage and yard outside the second home, they located fresh shoeprints, again believed to be Nike Air Force One prints. It was also while they were searching for the suspect that a third call came in that a subject was observed standing outside of a home in the 2700 block of 10th Avenue SW.

Officers responded and while searching the nearby area, noticed that a garage door was open at a home in the 1100 block of 26th Street SW, which a Mower County deputy observed open and close. An APD officer looked inside and saw a young, white male wearing a black hate, black mask and black jacket look out from the door leading from the garage to the house.

The subject quickly ducked back into the house, but moments later the officer noticed the subject peeking out through the door inside the garage.

Officers would later gain permission from the homeowner, who was not at home at the time, to enter the home; however, they had force their way in the house through a door that had been locked.

The suspect, Wells, was eventually discovered by K-9 hiding beneath a large bean bag. After refusing to show hands or comply to officer commands, the K-9 was sent in to apprehend Wells.

A pair of muddy, size 10.5 Nike Air Force One shoes was located on the bedroom floor and collected for evidence. A knife, wallet and loose folded up cash was discovered on Wells’ person.

The cash was discovered to have been located in the truck in the garage of the residence Wells was apprehended in.