Two arrests made in Hills Bar burglary
HILLS — The Rock County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two men connected with last week’s burglary at the Hills Bar.
Sheriff’s deputies began their investigation after receiving a call Thursday from the new owner of the Hills Bar stating that she had been robbed of the ATM machine and the till from the bar, resulting in a loss of $5,760. Tony Fluit, 26, and Shane Hultgren, 30, both of Beaver Creek, were arrested later that day for second-degree burglary and theft exceeding $5,000, both felonies, after police viewed the two on a security camera, and after they discovered Fluit fit the description of a suspicious person’s report earlier Thursday morning.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office received a call stating that a maroon four-door vehicle had been suspiciously driving around Hills that morning shortly after 4:30 a.m. The passengers were described as a 6-foot, 2-inch male and a 5-foot, 8-inch female with a tattoo on her arm. The caller stated he saw the vehicle with a large object sticking out of the trunk in the area near the Hills Bar, according to court documents.
According to the criminal complaint, the owner of Hills Bar called law enforcement at noon Thursday to notify officers she had been robbed. Law enforcement was able to view the bar security video, on which they observed one individual entering the bar at approximately 4:14 a.m., and then walking behind the bar to the cash register area before leaving. Shortly afterward, the video showed two individuals removing the ATM machine.
Deputies were able to locate fingerprints, which they photographed and lifted from a shelf where the two suspects were allegedly seen putting their hands while removing the control box for the ATM.
Deputies then ran the plate number of the suspicious vehicle seen driving near the bar earlier that morning. The vehicle was tracked to a location at 300 E. Second St., Beaver Creek, a residence being rented by Fluit, Hultgren and Courtney Anderson.
From the driver’s license records and past contact with law enforcement, officers believed that Fluit and Anderson fit the description of the two people that were reported suspiciously driving around the bar. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, and proceeded to the residence.
At the home, Hultgren was located and handcuffed for officer safety until the scene could be secured, according to the criminal complaint. The vehicle was not found on the residence, nor was Fluit or Anderson. Deputies executed the warrant on the home.
Hultgren allegedly stated to police that Anderson was his girlfriend and that when he awoke that morning, Fluit was gone. Hultgren also allegedly indicated he was not involved in any criminal activity and alerted officers to an entrance to the home’s basement, but indicated he had never been down there.
When deputies searched the basement, they found an ATM shell, the digital face of the ATM and its broken door panels. Law enforcement then informed Hultgren that there was a stolen ATM in the basement, to which Hultgren allegedly stated, “I know.”
Deputies continued searching the home and found numerous items purchased by Hultgren that day including a TV, videos, games and an air mattress. Hultgren was then arrested.
At 10 p.m. Thursday, deputies located the vehicle subject to the warrant in Luverne. Located inside was $220 in $20 bills, as well as a deposit slip for First State Bank Southwest.
Fluit was taken to the law enforcement center, where he agreed to speak without an attorney and stated that he had been asleep during the time of the crime. Deputies then stated that the outfit that he was wearing matched the suspect’s outfit on the video at the burglary site in Hills, according to court documents.
Fluit allegedly stated that he and Hultgren had both been drinking, entered the bar and then proceeded to take the ATM machine back to Beaver Creek, and that Hultgren must have taken the money.
When told his story wasn’t adding up, Fluit allegedly admitted that Hultgren had pried the door open and gone in first. They then left to make sure no alarms had been activated. When they went back to the bar, they both entered and took the ATM after being unable to find more money than the cash drawer of the till.
They both hauled the ATM outside, set it by a fence and left for a few minutes to again make sure no alarms were activated. They then went home with the ATM, and Hultgren allegedly drug the ATM into the home basement. Fluit indicated he got about $900 and Hultgren allegedly took the rest, according to the criminal complaint.
Both posted bail, and have been released with conditions. They each make their initial appearance in court on May 12.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.