Police recover stolen items from Rochester break-ins

Published 1:36 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

Albert Lea police officers recovered items stolen from more than 20 vehicles in Rochester this week after they received a call of a suspicious car on East Main Street in Albert Lea.

Two young men have been charged as adults with receiving stolen property, and reports have been sent to a prosecutor to determine if charges will be filed for three other teenage girls who were with the young men at the time they were found by police.

Albert Lea Police Chief Dwaine Winkels said items recovered included a .45 caliber handgun, numerous iPods, GPS devices, DVD players, knives, car chargers, a camera and a projector, among other items.

Jordan Hoffmann

“The best find was getting that gun out of there,” Winkels said.

Shane Lawrence Williams, 19, of Rochester and Jordan Scott Hoffmann, 18, of Rochester have been charged as adults in the case. They each face two felony counts of receiving stolen property — one count for stealing a handgun and the other for possessing stolen property with a value between $1,000 and $5,000.

They were charged Wednesday in Freeborn County District Court with the allegations.

The charges came after a series of events on Tuesday.

According to court documents, police were dispatched to Ecowater on East Main Street just before 1 p.m. Tuesday to find a gray Hyundai Sonata that was reported as suspicious. The occupants were allegedly dumping garbage on the ground.

After scanning the license plate number on the car, officers also learned that a missing teenage girl may also be in the car.

Shane Williams

Winkels found the car in the Walmart parking lot and then stopped it in the parking lot of the nearby strip mall.

Court documents state Hoffmann was the driver of the car, and the owner of the car — Kayla Nicole Lovelace, 18 — was in the front passenger seat. Williams was in the back seat with two teenage girls, both 17, who were runaways. One of the teenage girls had an outstanding warrant.

After conducting a search of the vehicle, officers reportedly found the stolen items, including the handgun.

According to court documents, Lovelace told police in an interview that she, Hoffmann and Williams had gone “car shopping” a couple nights ago in Rochester, which she described as going through cars that were unlocked. She allegedly stated she and the two young men were near the Chateau Theater in Rochester when they broke into at least 20 vehicles.

They would park their car and take turns breaking into vehicles, putting the stolen items in the trunk, Lovelace told police.

Williams declined to speak with officers.

One of the 17-year-old girls told police she had been with the group since Sunday at 9:30 p.m. when she was picked up from the back alley by her house in Spring Grove, court records state. She stated the group stayed at the Countryside Inn in Albert Lea, arriving there Monday morning. She also reportedly told police she was with the group when they broke into the cars, but that she did not break into any herself.

Hoffmann allegedly told police that Williams, Lovelace and one of the juvenile girls were intoxicated when they were breaking into the vehicles. He took over driving the car because of Lovelace’s intoxication.

He stated he broke into one car where he stole money but did not break into any others.

He also reportedly told police he did not see who took the gun, noting that he didn’t see it until the group was at the motel room in Albert Lea.

He said at one point he was going to throw the gun into Edgewater Bay at Edgewater Park but someone drove up, and he did not want to toss the gun with someone watching, court documents state.

The serial number of the stolen gun matched the serial number of the handgun found in the car. The gun was valued at $1,020.

The group was going to pawn the stolen items and go to California, Hoffmann told police.