Area men facing multiple burglary charges

The two have been involved in criminal activity together in the past.

Ben Novack, Parker Kolander
Novack, Kolander

JACKSON COUNTY — A Windom man will face charges in court Wednesday that he allegedly burglarized two dwellings in Jackson County over the summer, one of which reportedly involved an accomplice who was also charged.

The first report occurred June 5, 2020, in Heron Lake. There was damage to the door, and the victim reported a cell phone as the only item stolen. Reviewing home security footage, the victim told police they were 100% certain that the perpetrator was Benjamin Novack, 21, of Windom.

In two separate interviews, Novack reportedly gave conflicting accounts about why he was in the house and if he had taken anything. He was charged with second-degree burglary, a felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Novack was also accused of involvement in a second burglary that took place July 28, 2020. Owners of an unoccupied residence in Belmont Township told police that a door and window had been left ajar. Inside the house, personal items were in disarray as if someone had rifled through everything.

The owners stated that multiple valuables and six safes had been kept in the house. The following items were discovered to be missing: several firearms, three money bags of silver dollars, collector coins and books, belt buckles, six bottles of prescription pills, two BB guns and a recurve bow with arrows. Two tool boxes were also noted as missing from the shed, with a total estimated value of $58,000.


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Investigators found a site on the property where garbage had been dumped. Refuse included a safe, which had been taken from the house and pried open, along with items of mail addressed to Novack.

The following day, police received a report of a safe located in the grassy area of the apartment complex where Novack lives. The property owner gave law enforcement the key to the safe; the key opened it and confirmed it belonged to the property owner.

A second break-in at the same property about a month later led to witnesses naming Novack and Parker Kolander, 21, of Jackson, as the suspects in the July 28 burglary. Based on witness statements, law enforcement executed search warrants at two residences — Novack's apartment and another Windom home. Multiple items stolen July 28 were recovered, and Novack and Kolander were brought in for questioning.

After being advised of his rights, Kolander reportedly told police that he had helped Novack carry safes, documents, books and coins out of the house July 28. He further stated that a few nights earlier, Novack had asked if he could borrow Kolander's girlfriend's car to go out to the Belmont Township home to burn it down, but the two had not gone out there that night.

Both Novack and Kolander were charged with second-degree burglary, a felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. If convicted, they will be sentenced based on criminal history.

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