Man found in house pleads guilty to felony

A man has pleaded guilty to one of three felony charges in Anoka County District Court after a homeowner detained a burglar, who had a prior murder conviction.

Nicholas L. Hart, 20, 9900 Bluebird St. N.W., Coon Rapids, entered a guilty plea Nov. 5 to one count of first-degree burglary. Felony counts of first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property will be dismissed at sentencing Dec. 13.

Hart remains in jail in lieu of $100,000.

The early evening of March 20, Coon Rapids Police responded to a home on the 9900 block of Linnet Street N.W. where a homeowner had detained a man, later identified as Hart, who he had found inside his residence, according to the complaint.

The homeowner, 55, went to the kitchen from the living room and saw Hart standing in the dining room holding a large kitchen knife.

The complaint states that the homeowner ran to the garage, got a shovel, ran back into the house and saw Hart run out of the back patio door.

The homeowner began to chase Hart and after some distance, Hart stopped because he was out of breath and sat in the grass, where the homeowner convinced him to walk back to his residence until police arrived.

According to the complaint, the homeowner said that Hart talked about living nearby and pedaling to the house on a bicycle.

The homeowner said that the dining room has a large patio sliding walk-out door to the backyard that had been left open because of the warm temperatures, although the screen door was closed.

A Coon Rapids Police officer found a large kitchen knife, which was about 11 inches long, on a table in the kitchen area and a woman’s 12-speed bicycle in the back of the home; the bike was reported stolen from a Linnet Street address.

In a post-Miranda statement, Hart admitted going into the house armed with a knife to take a laptop computer and a phone.

He said he was so scared when the saw the homeowner that he dropped the knife and fled from the house.

Hart alleged that he had never been in trouble in his life and had come to Coon Rapids to live with a relative four months earlier from Humboldt, Tenn.

But on further investigation, police learned that Hart, under the name of Nicholas Shawn Hart, had been convicted of first-degree murder in Humboldt, Tenn., when he was 15 years old and had been released when he was 18, according to the complaint.

Hart said in his statement that his real name was Nicholas Latrell Hart and he had a Kentucky driver’s license with the name Nicholas L. Hart.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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