Two men plead guilty to stealing scrap metal from vacant homes

Two of three men accused of stealing scrap metal, specifically copper, from a vacant house in Anoka, have each pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court to a felony charge and been sentenced.

Michael Lee Morgan, 26, 14842 Xkimo St. N.W., Ramsey, who entered a guilty plea to an aiding and abetting attempted theft charge, had a 12 month and one day prison sentence stayed April 18 when he was put on probation for two years and six months and given credit for 19 days served in jail.

Probation conditions include chemical dependency treatment, random breathalyzer and urinalysis testing, no use of mood-altering chemicals and alcohol, no gambling and no entry into a gambling facility. He was also fined $1,000.

Late last year, Tyler Carl Belrose, 44, 530 E. Main St., Anoka, entered a guilty plea to a third-degree burglary charge and at sentencing, a 12-month prison term was stayed. He was put on probation for five years and jailed for 135 days with credit for 61 days served.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the third defendant, Joseph Allen Knotz, 44, 11945 Holly Circle N.W., Coon Rapids, who failed to appear in court March 5 for his scheduled trial on a third-degree burglary charge.

An Anoka Police officer responded to a burglary call at a residence on the 2500 block of Fifth Avenue, which he knew to be unoccupied with “Do Not Occupy” signs posted by both the city and the bank owner of the foreclosed property.

The officer saw a vehicle parked in the backyard behind the garage and several large copper pipes on the ground with fresh cut marks at both ends, according to the complaint.

As the officer walked to the back of the house, several pieces of copper piping came flying out of the basement window and Belrose, Morgan and Knotz were allegedly found inside.

In a post-Miranda statement, Belrose admitted entering the home by pulling the glass from a basement window and planning to take the scrap metal to sell, although he knew he was not supposed to be in the house.

Knotz, in his post-Miranda statement, alleged he followed Belrose into the house to take the scrap metal, but thought they had permission to do so.

In his post-Miranda statement, Morgan said he knew Knotz from jail and when he saw him walking down the street he offered Knotz a ride in the vehicle he was driving.

Morgan alleged Knotz told him that Knotz was on his way to a house to get some scrap metal and when Knotz went in, Morgan followed.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]

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