Man charged with snowmobile theft

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A 29-year-old Albert Lea man has been charged with burglary in the third degree, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and theft after Albert Lea police arrested him on suspicion of breaking into Northstar Powersports & Marine last Friday.

Brandon Johnson

Brandon Stanley Johnson, of 119 Morningside Road, was arrested Friday morning. An Albert Lea police officer first noticed something amiss at Northstar, 2120 Consul St., around 3:30 a.m. Friday.

A 2008 Yamaha Nytro was missing from a line of snowmobiles at the store, which the officers estimate is worth about $4,000. Another snowmobile, a 2007 Yamaha Apex, was found crashed into a fence on the property, according to court documents.

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Officers also found a broken window to the building. Spy brand sunglasses were missing, and a cash drawer had been emptied of paper money with change still remaining.

Officers could hear a snowmobile running and attempted to locate it. They found the suspect driving a snowmobile on Albert Lea Lake and attempted to cut the snowmobile off when the driver fled, striking a mailbox.

Around 6:30 a.m. the stolen snowmobile was found abandoned near 1019 Neale St. Officers tracked a single set of footprints to 119 Morningside Road. Johnson was arrested on unrelated warrants.

A search warrant was obtained and a search was done of the residence where officials found sunglasses, valued at around $600 total, matching those that were missing from Northstar and $120 in cash, along with a jacket that matched the description of the one officers had seen the snowmobile driver wearing.

Investigators believe he traveled to Northstar on a bicycle.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and Albert Lea Fire Department assisted.

The penalty in the burglary charge could be five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, the penalty in the fleeing charge could be three years in prison and a $5,000 fine and the theft charge penalty could be five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.