Crime Briefs: Blaine and Spring Lake Park

Ramsey man convicted of swindling Lowe’s

Michael Lee Morgan, 29, of Ramsey, was sentenced in Anoka County District Court July 2 after a felony theft by swindle conviction.

Initially charged with three felonies – two theft by swindle charges and possession of burglary or theft tools – two charges were dropped when Morgan pleaded guilty to one of the theft by swindle counts.

The court ordered Morgan to serve 18 months in the St. Cloud Correctional Facility with credit for 373 days served. Morgan must also pay $1,085 in restitution.

Morgan and several other men were charged for carrying out a scheme at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in 2012, swindling stores out of more than $1,000 in a four-month period.

Morgan was allegedly the head of the operation, photographing barcodes in Lowe’s stores, printing barcodes on felt-like paper at home and changing out barcodes to purchase items at a lower price and return them at their full value, the criminal complaint states.

Morgan and others primarily carried out their scheme at the Coon Rapids store, but also swapped barcodes at Lowe’s stores in Blaine, Maple Grove and Plymouth, the complaint states.

Video surveillance captured Morgan photographing a DeWalt 1/2 inch hammer drill, valued at $99.97. He later paid that same price for a DeWalt 18-volt lithium-ion hammer drill, valued at more than three times the amount, according to the complaint.

Morgan was convicted of receiving stolen property in 2009.

~ Olivia Koester

Man sentenced for stealing classic car and DWI

A 43-year-old man was convicted July 17 in Anoka County District Court of stealing a car and driving it under the influence of alcohol.

Minnesota State Patrol responded to a car accident on Interstate 35W in Blaine Nov. 15, 2012.

Thomas Lee White, of New Brighton, was lying in the median, some distance away from an overturned 1964 Chevrolet, according to the criminal complaint.

Law enforcement learned that bystanders had pulled White out from under the trunk of the car as the fuel tank began to leak.

White allegedly smelled of alcohol, was slurring his speech and had watery, bloodshot eyes when law enforcement confronted him, the complaint states.

He was transported by ambulance to the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Because he was injured, White was unable to perform field sobriety tests, but after law enforcement read him his rights, he agreed to give a urine sample without first consulting an attorney, according to the complaint.

The sample returned a blood alcohol concentration of 0.14, the complaint states. The legal limit is 0.08.

Additionally, White’s driver’s license had been revoked before the incident, according to the complaint.

Two days after the accident, a St. Anthony man reported the Chevrolet missing from his storage unit. He had heard White rolled a classic car, and because White had been at his home the day of the accident, he checked his storage unit and found the car and keys missing, the complaint states.

Law enforcement estimates that White crashed an hour-and-a-half after leaving the man’s home. The man told law enforcement that White brought beer over and was quite intoxicated when he left, according to the complaint.

A misdemeanor driving with a revoked license charge was dropped with guilty pleas to felony theft of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor fourth-degree DWI charges.

The court stayed 13 months in prison, giving White five years of probation with conditions. He was sentenced to 30 days in Anoka County Jail with credit for one day served. He must complete an indeterminate amount of community service work in lieu of a $1,000 fine.

~ Olivia Koester

Three women charged for stealing children’s clothing from Kohl’s

Three women were charged July 3 by the Anoka County Attorney’s Office for allegedly collaborating to steal $1,300 worth of merchandise from a Kohl’s store in Blaine on June 11.

Takeisha Denise Wade, 19, of Blaine, and Tianna Renae Wade, 24, of New Brighton, were both arraigned July 7 in Anoka County District Court. Monica Marnette Smith, 23, of Rockford, has yet to make her first court appearance and has an outstanding warrant issued for her arrest. All were charged with one felony count of aggravated robbery in the first degree.

According to the criminal complaint, a Kohl’s loss prevention employee called the Blaine Police Department June 11 to report the theft. The police department and county attorney’s office developed the case from this employee’s statement and store surveillance footage.

Takeisha Wade, a former Kohl’s employee, allegedly waited in a vehicle while Tianna Wade and Smith went into the store and put children’s clothing and shoes into large Kohl’s shopping bags and walked out of the store.

According to the complaint, Smith sprayed the loss prevention officer in the face with mace when he tried to stop them in the parking lot. Smith later called the Blaine Police Department and claimed that she did not steal anything and said the loss prevention officer had not identified himself as a Kohl’s employee.

The Blaine investigator did not believe this story is consistent with what the video shows; the loss prevention officer was not close enough to grab Smith. She turned around and walked back to him before spraying him in the face, according to the complaint.

~ Eric Hagen

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