LISMORE — A second suspect, identified to police by his co-defendant, has been arrested in relation to the July 18 break-in and theft at the Lismore Bar.
Benjamin Novack, 20, of Windom was named by co-defendant Ashtin Johnson as the second person seen in security footage of two men entering the bar, taking cash from the register and leaving.
According to Johnson, he and Novack had agreed to tell police that they were in Iona with friends on the night of July 18. Although Johnson initially said this to officers, he later agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and admitted to his role in the crime.
Johnson explained to police that he and Novack had been smoking methamphetamine when Novack suggested breaking into the bar. Johnson added since that Novack had a gun, he didn't feel safe saying no.
As part of his agreement with police, Johnson participated in a recorded phone call with Novack.
Johnson: "I was wondering if I gave you that $100 that we got. I can’t find it anywhere."
Novack: "We only got $50 and you did not give me any of it." (The actual amount stolen from the cash register was $55).
Novack: "I haven’t talked to the cops."
Johnson: "Just remember our story right."
Novack: "Iona all night, is that what you told them?" (Johnson later confirmed that that was what he had told police.)
Following Johnson's interview and phone call, the Nobles County Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for Novack's arrest on charges of third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and misdemeanor theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, and actual sentencing will be based on his criminal history.
The charges filed against Novack constitute a probation violation on a 2019 assault case out of Jackson County.
Novack was located and arrested Sept. 10, then released on non-cash bond Sept. 16. His initial court appearance is Monday.