UnionHerald Crime Briefs for Aug. 4

Felony simple robbery, drug possession charges

A man has been charged in Anoka County District Court with two felonies following a shoplifting incident at Target Greatland, 8600 Springbrook Dr. NW, Coon Rapids, the afternoon of July 7.

Daniel Lee Swenson, 27, White Bear Lake, was arraigned in court July 10 on felony simple robbery and third-degree controlled substance crime counts. Bail was set at $30,000 without conditions or $10,000 with conditions and he is due back in court Aug. 7.

The afternoon of July 7, Coon Rapids Police responded to a theft in progress at Target, where a man, later identified as Swenson came into the store, removed a security device from a box of headphones worth $59.99, took them out of the packaging, put them in his pocket, then left the store without paying for them, according to the complaint.

When he was confronted by Target loss prevention officers, Swenson initially denied stealing the headphones, then turned them over to the one of the employees, but as she started to escort Swenson back to the store, he allegedly forcibly grabbed her left arm and pushed her almost to the ground, leaving her with scratches and redness to the arm, and fled, almost knocking over a small child.

Swenson was apprehended across the street by a Fridley Police officer, who allegedly found on him a bag of white crystal substance and digital scale, which was field tested and determined to be 28 grams of methamphetamine, according to the complaint.

He had six outstanding warrants for his arrest, the Coon Rapids Police report states.

~ Peter Bodley


Warrant issued for man on felony charge

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a man who has been charged with felony violation of a protection order following an incident at a Coon Rapids residence July 6.

The Anoka County Attorney’s Office July 7 charged Cody Joseph Mezzenga, 30, St. Anthony, with the violation, which was a felony because he has two more violations in the past 10 years.

A warrant was issued for Mezzenga’s arrest because his whereabouts are unknown.

According to the complaint, Coon Rapids Police responded to an apartment the evening of July 6 on the 11300 block of Osage Street NW following a call by neighbors reporting a male/female domestic.

A 32-year-old woman, upset and crying, told officers that her ex-boyfriend, Mezzenga, allegedly came to her apartment unannounced in violation of a domestic abuse no contact order and they argued before he left.

Court records show that Mezzenga has prior three domestic violence-related offenses, two in 2016 and one in April this year.

~ Peter Bodley


Man convicted of  burglarizing Sears

Steven Jude Labatte, 48, formerly from Coon Rapids, was convicted of third-degree burglary in Anoka County District Court July 18 after breaking into the Coon Rapids Sears store last year.

Coon Rapids police responded to a burglary alarm around 10:10 p.m. Sept. 20, 2016, and watched as Labatte exited the store wearing a face mask, according to the criminal complaint. He turned and ran back into the store, which was closed.

Surveillance footage showed Labatte crouching in front of the store’s safe, trying to open it, the complaint states.

Police watched as Labatte received a phone call and ran from the cash office. He was arrested in a wooded area near the store soon afterward.

Multiple keys to yard tractors belonging to Sears were found in his pocket, and a face mask was found nearby, the complaint states.

Labatte had a three-year prison sentence stayed for five years during which time he will be on probation.

He was sentenced to serve one year in jail with credit for nine days served. If he completes the Salvation Army Treatment Program successfully, he will have the remaining balance of jail time stayed, according to court documents.

~ Olivia Alveshere


Man charged with threatening hotel employee

A man has been charged in Anoka County District Court with threatening a Coon Rapids hotel employee when he was asked to turn down the music in his car in the parking lot.

Michael Joseph Doss, 34, Birmingham, Alabama, was arraigned in court July 17 on a felony threat of violence count. He was released on his own recognizance, but a no contact order was issued and Doss is due back in court Aug. 16.

The early morning hours of July 14, an employee at InTown Suites, 420 Coon Rapids Blvd., reported to police that he went to a vehicle in the parking lot where music was being played loudly and asked the driver to turn it down, according to the complaint.

But the driver allegedly pulled out a folding knife, brandished it at the employee and threatened to “stick him” with it before fleeing on foot into a wooded area.

A search did not locate the suspect, but two hours later, the driver returned to his vehicle where he was arrested by police and identified as Doss, but no weapons were found on the vehicle or on his person.

The employee allegedly identified Doss as the man who threatened him.

~ Peter Bodley


Man faces another felony DWI charge

A Coon Rapids man with two prior felony DWI convictions has been charged with another following an incident in Coon Rapids.

Donald Joseph Green Jr., 55, was arraigned in Anoka County District Court July 11 on two felony DWI counts, one for refusing a breath test. Bail was set at $75,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions and his next court hearing is July 25.

According to court documents, Green has eight prior DWI convictions, two of them felonies – one in 2010 in Crow Wing County and the second in 2012 in Stearns County.

In this case, Coon Rapids Police responded to a report of a man unconscious in a car on the 11300 block of Robinson Drive about 10:40 p.m. July 8 and on arrival found the key in the ignition in the accessory position and two open cans of beer in the front cup holder, the complaint alleges.

Green, who was awakened by the officer, had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, smelled strongly of alcohol, failed field sobriety tests and blew a .183 on the preliminary breath test, according to the complaint.

But back at the police station while being read the implied consent advisory prior to the breath test, Green allegedly constantly interrupted and argued to the point that the officer concluded that he refused the breath test.

~ Peter Bodley


Man sent to prison on burglary conviction

A man, who pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court to a felony burglary charge in connection with an Aug. 9, 2016 burglary in Coon Rapids, has been sent to prison.

In a plea agreement June 5, Matthew Michael Schirmer, 35, Maplewood, entered a guilty plea to second-degree burglary after originally being charged with two first-degree burglary counts.

At sentencing July 17, Schirmer was given a 57-month prison term with credit for 306 days served.

In December 2016, Schirmer was sent to prison for 23 and 21 months, respectively, by Ramsey County District Court after pleading guilty to two separate felony offenses – receiving stolen property and a fifth-degree controlled substance crime.

The evening of Aug. 9, 2016 Coon Rapids Police responded to a call of a burglary that had just taken place at a home on the 10100 block of Cottonwood Street NW, where a 23-year-old man reported he was sleeping in the basement when he awoke to find Schirmer, who he had known for about 18 months, standing next to him, according to the complaint.

The man told police that Schirmer choked him with both hands and told him he was going to die because he owed Schirmer money stemming from a previous incident when the victim stored some of Schirmer’s belongings, which were stolen by an ex-roommate.

Schirmer took the television, cell phone and Playstation 4 and drove away in a white utility van after the victim followed him up the stairs and alerted his roommates, telling them to call police.

Police located a white utility van parked at Schirmer’s home in Maplewood, but he was not there.

However, a search warrant was executed on the van where police found the victim’s television and Playstation 4.

~ Peter Bodley


Shoplifter gets probation, jail time

A man, accused of shoplifting merchandise nine different times from Target stores, including six occasions at Target Greatland, 8600 Springbrook Dr. NW, Coon Rapids, between Jan. 13 and March 15, has been placed on probation and given jail time after pleading guilty to a felony charge in Anoka County District Court.

Edward Lamar Garrett, 37, Minneapolis, entered a guilty plea to a felony theft charge May 1 and at sentencing July 19, he was put on probation for five years and jailed for 113 days with credit for 92 days spent in jail.

Probation conditions include a chemical dependency evaluation, random breath and urinalysis testing on demand, stay away from Target stores, pay restitution to Target and submit a DNA sample.

According to the complaint, Coon Rapids Police received information in March from the Springbrook Drive Target Greatland asset protection manager that Garrett had been identified as a male who been stealing from the store.

Garrett took items such as television sets, vacuums and IRobot Roombas from the sales floor and left Target without making any attempt to pay for them.

Besides the six incidents at the Springbrook Drive Target, surveillance video also allegedly identified Garrett shoplifting from a St. Louis Park Target twice and once from a Minneapolis Target.

The value of items taken from the Target stores totaled $2,754.92, according to the complaint.

A statewide Kops alert was issued for the arrest of Garrett, who was apprehended at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

~ Peter Bodley


Second suspect pleads guilty in shoplifting incident

The second of two suspects charged in connection with a shoplifting incident that allegedly turned violent the afternoon of May 16, 2016 at the Target Greatland store, 8600 Springbrook Dr. NW, has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in Anoka County District Court.

Kenyon Latrewl Douglas, 44, Columbia Heights, and Shavelle Shanique Timberlake-Devine, 25, Maplewood, were both arraigned May 18, 2016 on felony simple robbery and misdemeanor theft charges.

In plea agreements, Douglas entered a guilty plea to a felony theft count June 13, while Timberlake-Devine pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting felony theft April 24 when she was placed on probation for two years, given credit for eight days spent in jail, ordered to perform community service work in lieu of a $250 fine and must submit a DNA sample.

At his sentencing July 14, Douglas had an 18-month prison sentence stayed, was put on probation for five years and jailed for 120 days with credit for 40 days served.

Probation condition include completing anger management, submitting a DNA sample, submitting to breathalyzer and urinalysis testing on demand at his own expense and no contact with the victims.

According to the complaint, when a Target employee saw a man, later identified as Douglas, take an iPad case and hide it on his person and a woman with him, later identified as Timberlake-Devine, do the same thing with a camera, he went to detain them and was attacked physically before they left the store without paying for the items with a third man, who was acting as a “spotter.”

The suspects were seen leaving the Target parking lot toward Fridley in a gold Chevrolet Malibu and Coon Rapids Police contacted Fridley Police with both the description and license plate number.

Fridley Police stopped the car at I-694 and East River Road and found Douglas and Timberlake-Devine inside with the stolen items, but not the other suspect, who remains unidentified.

According to the complaint, two witnesses at Target corroborated the account of the assault by the store employee, including Douglas striking the employee on the back of the head with a closed fist.

~ Peter Bodley