Woman facing over 10 felonies for theft of guns

Published 7:36 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

An Austin woman is facing several counts of burglary and theft.

April Taylor Arends, 27, of Austin, has been charged with 12 felony counts of burglary and theft and one gross misdemeanor count of theft.

She made her first appearance in Mower County District Court on Thursday.

The case surrounds a January incident that included several firearms being stolen from a residence in the 900 block of Sixth Avenue NW.

According to the court complaint, Austin Police were called to the residence at around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 for a burglary complaint.

A male at the home had reported that someone had been in the residence and that they had taken several firearms, with cases, and a compound crossbow.

He told police that he had returned home that day at around 4 p.m. and had found the back door open and his dogs outside.

Upon entering the home he had found that the firearms missing from his gun safe. He also said that he had found several drawers open, bed moved and additional guns missing in his bedroom.

The subject told police that Arends had recently moved out of the home and was the only other person that knew the location of the weapons.

Police made contact with Arends, who said she had been out of town at the time of the burglary with her boyfriend Bradley Blaine Beckstead.

The complaint goes on to say that on March 2, police responded to Walmart on the report that two subjects were on the premises and were wanted for several felonies from multiple nearby jurisdictions. The two subjects were observed making contact with Beckstead and placed items into a Kia Soul.

When police made contact with Beckstead, he said the car was rented by Arends. Beckstead’s license was revoked and the rental company wanted the vehicle seized.

Once the vehicle was seized and impounded, an Aero Precision AR-15 pistol was discovered in the backseat, one of the 13 weapons reported stolen in January.

Arends allegedly called law enforcement and requested to retrieve her property from the vehicle, but denied knowledge of the firearm.

A search warrant of Arends’ apartment on March 2, turned up the compound bow as well as a Marlin .22 rifle. During the search Arends denied involvement in the burglary until the crossbow was discovered. She then allegedly admitted to the burglary and theft of the guns.

During the investigation, the complaint states, Arends changed her story several times, including telling detectives that Beckstead had been with her and he had planned it. She then changed it again to say she wasn’t there at the time of the burglary and that Beckstead had told her the guns were at a friend of Beckstead’s house in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police then made contact with Beckstead and another person, at which time Beckstead was taken into custody and eventually placed on hold in Blue Earth County.

When Beckstead was questioned later by detectives over the phone, he admitted to driving the rental car, but said he didn’t know anything about the burglary. He did, however, allgedly say Arends admitted stealing the guns to him.

A search of Arends’ apartment turned up her phone and tablet and an instant message conversation was discovered with Beckstead on March 2, after the vehicle had been searched regarding the stolen weapons. At one point Beckstead tells Arends to not “let them search it if they ask.”

Beckstead, himself, made his first appearance on Thursday as well. He faces three felony charges of a violent felon in possession of a firearm and a misdemeanor for driving after cancellation. His next court appearance is on May 9.

Arends’ next court appearance is on May 9 as well.