Man pleads guilty in mugging case

Published 10:48 am Thursday, February 10, 2011

The second out of three young men charged with the mugging of a downtown business owner in December has entered a guilty plea in Freeborn County District Court.

Michael Haas

Michael Van Haas, 20, of Albert Lea, pleaded guilty last week to aiding and abetting simple robbery tied to the mugging of the owner of Adams Originals, 238 S. Broadway Ave., on Dec. 30. The plea came as part of an agreement between his public defender, Kevin Riha, and the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office.

He is scheduled to be sentenced at 2:30 p.m. May 2.

Email newsletter signup

Haas was initially charged with two counts — one of simple robbery and one of aiding and abetting simple robbery.

His plea followed that of his younger brother, Adam Ly Haas, 18, who is believed to be the actual perpetrator of the mugging.

Court documents state Michael Haas and Shepperd Lawrence Robins-Priestley, 19, also of Albert Lea, reportedly aided and abetted.

The store owner was working alone Dec. 30 when the three men reportedly walked in the store and began looking around.

The owner reportedly walked up to Adam Haas and asked if she could help them when he “grabbed her, pulled her forward, frightening her” and then reached into her side pocket and pulled out her checkbook, the court records continue.

The men fled after the incident and were later found by police in a truck in the alley near the Haas residence.

Ultimately, $95 in cash, a Visa card and checks were stolen.

Robins-Priestley has entered a not guilty plea to his charges and is scheduled for a jury trial.