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Five charged with burglary

LUVERNE -- Five Rock County teens have been charged with burglary and theft after allegedly taking thousands of dollars worth of personal possessions from an unoccupied farm site in Beaver Creek.

Eric Jon Kooistra, 19, of Beaver Creek, Shane Kevin Oehlerts, 19, of Luverne, and Chaiden Peter Kuehl, 18, of Beaver Creek, were each charged with two counts of second-degree burglary and three counts of theft, all felonies. Ethan Warren Rozeboom, 19, of Hills, and Ashley Lynn Kurtz, 19, of Luverne, face one count each of second-degree burglary and theft, all felonies.

The complaint states burglaries took place on July 31 and Aug. 9 at the property. One of the owners told authorities personal items were stored at the acreage, and because the owners had long been suspicious of possible vandalism and burglaries, a digital video recorder (DVR) system was installed.

In checking the video, the owner said he observed three individuals in two pickup trucks drive onto the property on July 31, enter buildings and take various items to their vehicles. An acquaintance who viewed the video had identified two of the people as Kuehl and Kooistra. He also identified one of the pickups as belonging to Kuehl, who lives a mile from the acreage.

The owner prepared an inventory of missing items for law enforcement, which included two long guns, two chainsaws, an 8-horsepower engine, shotgun shells, tie- down chains and straps, a dog shock collar and more, with a value of more than $2,300.

In August, the owner contacted law enforcement again to report another burglary. This time, the victim reported, the thieves had taken the DVR system and various other items valued at $7,900. The stolen items included hand and power tools, two sprayers, gas cans, motor oil, a tool box, binoculars, a dorm refrigerator, an antique record player, welding equipment, the security equipment and more. Low-cost items such as a package of scrubbing sponges, a pair of goggles, cleaning clothes and several cords were also removed from the property, along with a jug of weed killer and a case of light bulbs.

The investigator made contact with Kooistra, who agreed to come to the law enforcement center voluntarily and give a statement. Kooistra allegedly told the investigator that he, Kuehl and Oehlerts had gone to the acreage to look around and ended up doing some "pilfering" while they were there.

He indicated they went into the barn and the machine shed and took numerous items including the guns and chainsaws. He stated all the stolen property was taken to an acreage owned by Kuehl's parents. They had no plans for the stolen items other than personal use, he allegedly said.

During the second burglary, all five people went to the acreage, he told the investigator, and intended to take more property. Oehlerts, Kooistra said, had used a screwdriver to "pop open" the door to the machine shed. Rozeboom, Kooistra alleged, did not participate in the thefts, but was "just there."

Kuehl also came into the law enforcement center voluntarily to give a statement. He allegedly told authorities Kurtz remained in the truck during the first burglary. He said they been sitting at Oelherts' residence and decided to go to the acreage to "pillage." Kooistra and Oelherts had worn gloves, he said, and Oelherts had brought along a flashlight and screwdriver. He alleged it was Kooistra's idea to go into the house, and the Oelherts had taken an antique baby carriage from the attic.

In August, he said, the were all at Kuehl's grandparents' acreage playing video games when Kooistra brought up the idea of going back to the property for more items. He allegedly provided a list of the things they had taken, including the DVR system.

Kurtz came in for an interview and told law enforcement she had stayed in the truck during the first alleged burglary, but was too frightened to do so during the second. She said she did not assist in the burglary because she was scared and didn't want to be there.

Rozeboom indicated during his interview he had gone along on the second burglary and believed the items taken were brought back to the Kuehls' grandparents' acreage.

Oehlerts admitted he and the others had committed both burglaries, confirmed that Kurtz had stayed in the truck during the first theft, and named several items that were taken.

Kooistra is currently on probation for a driving while impaired conviction, the others have traffic violations. All five are scheduled for a bail hearing on Nov. 16 in Rock County District Court.