Man arrested for burglary says he 'wanted a new thrill'
The case has been under investigation since May 2019.
HADLEY — A Tracy resident is set to appear in Murray County district court Monday morning on charges that he broke into several vehicles at a Hadley residence in May 2019.
A Hadley homeowner told police that on the night of May 26, 2019, someone had broken into and rummaged through three vehicles, one of which was located inside an attached garage. The following items were reported missing from the vehicles:
- $300 cash
- a Visa credit card
- a book of personal checks
- an iPad mini valued at $384
- a MiFi jetpack valued at $239.55
- prescription sunglasses valued at $300
- a gas card
On May 28, 2019, law enforcement learned that the gas card had been used at the Cenex station in Lake Wilson the previous day. It had also been swiped less than two hours later at Ruppert Oil in Currie, but the purchase had been declined.
Surveillance footage provided by both service stations showed that the card had been used by the same individual in the same vehicle, and that the vehicle had two other occupants.
On May 30, 2019, the victim's bank told police that someone had used one of the stolen checks at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Redwood Falls. The clerk at the store gave officers a physical description of the person who had written the check and explained that the man had wanted to write a check in exchange for cash, but when he was denied, used the check to purchase merchandise instead.
The clerk had written the man's driver's license number on the back of the check, which law enforcement used to trace the purchase to Taylor Thomas, 25, of Tracy. Police then applied for a search warrant on Thomas's residence, and Thomas was reportedly hiding under a bed when the search was conducted. The following items were found on his person or in his home:
- a MiFi jetpack
- the victim's checks and gas card
- an iPad mini
- the distinctive clothing shown in the surveillance videos
In an interview with police, Thomas allegedly said "he was just as responsible as anyone else," according to the criminal complaint. He explained that on the night of May 26, 2019, he had been hanging out with some friends, using methamphetamine "and that he wanted a new thrill. Thomas said that the risk of getting shot by the homeowner was part of the thrill that he was seeking." He reportedly admitted to having written the check in Redwood Falls and swiping the gas card in Lake Wilson and Currie.
Thomas was charged with first-degree burglary — a felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $35,000 fine — and felony theft. He also faces a number of lesser charges: two counts of financial transaction card fraud, both gross misdemeanors; and three counts of tampering with a motor vehicle, all misdemeanors. If convicted, Thomas will be sentenced based on his criminal history.
He was served a summons to appear Monday morning for his first court appearance on the case. Because Thomas was not booked into jail, he does not have a mug shot available.