By Ryan Gueningsman
MARYSVILLE TOWNSHIP, MN An alert Marysville Township homeowner caught a man after he had allegedly just broken into the homeowner’s residence March 23.
Just before 7 p.m. that evening, Wright County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Dempsey Avenue residence of Cathleen and August “Augie” Riebel for a report of a burglary in progress.
The first deputy arrived on scene and observed a male, later identified as Jerry Duane Winters, 23, of Plymouth, trying to put a backpack on while standing outside the front door of the residence, according to a formal complaint.
The deputy ordered Winters to drop the backpack and turn around. The deputy observed Winters was standing over a light blue-colored bicycle and placed him in handcuffs, according to the complaint. The deputy observed broken glass near the front door of the residence, which appeared to have come from the front door window that had been broken.
A search of Winters revealed a GPS unit, a GE booklight, which was later identified by the Riebels as belonging to them, and a Sony AM/FM Walkman.
Doing an inventory search of Winters’ backpack, deputies located a pill bottle that had the label torn off and contained 61 pills, which were determined to be Oxycodone, a schedule II controlled substance, along with other miscellaneous personal items, according to the complaint.
Deputies observed the glass on the front door to the residence was broken, numerous screens had been cut or popped out, and the bottom pane of glass on the service door for the garage was also broken.
A deputy observed the glovebox open on a Chevy pickup parked in the garage, according to the complaint, as well as kitchen drawers and cupboard doors open inside the home.
The Riebels told authorities when they left their residence that morning, the house was locked, the glass on the doors was not broken, and the screens on their house were intact.
The Riebels stated Winters did not have permission to be in their residence, according to the complaint.
Augie Riebel said around 6:15 p.m., he observed the man riding a light blue bike on his driveway, but did not think anything of it and went to see his brother-in-law.
“A number of people had seen him biking around,” Cathleen said, adding that it appeared he picked up the bike from somewhere in the neighborhood because it was a bicycle made for a young girl. Cathleen, who was at work at the time of the incident, said “One person called it in and Wright County came looking, but I’d guess he was back around my house at that time.”
When Augie Riebel returned home at 6:50 p.m., he saw the front door of his residence had been kicked open and that there was glass throughout the driveway.
Riebel told authorities he observed the light blue bicycle in the driveway that he had previously observed the man riding. Riebel also said he called the sheriff’s office and then waited for officers to arrive, during which time he observed the man exit his residence.
“Augie was out there and watched him exit the house. I was proud of my husband for showing restraint and waiting for the cops,” Cathleen said. “It goes to show you it’s just better to practice restraint it’s just stuff.”
Deputies then spoke with Winters, who admitted to being in the residence and that he did not have permission to be in the residence, according to the complaint.
Cathleen Riebel said Winters did not take much from her residence, but said he did eat some pickles and cheese from the refrigerator and made a mess in the kitchen.
“He made a terrible mess with all the glass we were up until midnight Shopvacing glass,” Cathleen said. “He didn’t really take anything of value, but broke a figurine my aunt gave me.”
She said the man told authorities he broke into her house because he was hungry.
“He also did about $7,000 to $10,000 worth of damage to windows, screens, and doors,” Cathleen said.
Cathleen said after Winters was taken into custody, she and her husband were not able to go into their residence for some time, as crime scene investigators dusted for fingerprints, obtained footprints, and gathered other evidence.
“They were really good to work with,” Cathleen said of the sheriff’s office.
Being out in the “country,” Cathleen said she has heard of other instances of crime happening in her neighborhood.
“I’m just glad it was my house and not someone who was elderly or who has kids,” Cathleen said, adding she has lived in the area her entire life, and lived at this residence with her husband since 1980.
Deputies noted Winters was unable to provide proof that he had a prescription to possess the Oxycodone, and it is believed that he possessed the pills illegally, according to the complaint.
Winters has been charged with second degree burglary of a dwelling, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, and/or a $20,000 fine if found guilty, and also third degree possession of 50 or more dosages of a narcotic mixture, which carries a 20- year imprisonment, and/or a $250,000 fine if found guilty. Both are felony level charges.
As of last Wednesday afternoon, Winters remained in custody at the Wright County Jail, and had a court appearance scheduled for Thursday, April 1 at 9 a.m. Further information was not available at press time due to early deadlines.