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Burglary suspect arrested in Osakis

Erik Mueller

A 30-year-old man from Bismarck, North Dakota was charged with felony possession of burglary tools after he was arrested near the Heritage Apartments in Osakis on Sept. 17.

The suspect initially told police his name was Erik Rohrich but after running a criminal check, authorities discovered his real name was Erik Mueller and he was wanted in connection with four outstanding warrants in North Dakota for failing to appear in court on charges involving theft, possession of meth and parole violations, according to Osakis Police Chief Chad Gulbranson.

According to the criminal complaint:

Chief Gulbranson received a report at about 6 a.m. on Sept. 17 that a suspicious person was attempting to enter West View Assisted Living Apartments at 240 Sixth Ave. North. The suspect left before Gulbranson arrived, but after checking other apartments in town, Gulbranson found the suspect's vehicle at another apartment building on Second Avenue East and made contact with the suspect.

The suspect, later identified as Mueller, said he was at the apartment complex looking for a place to rent and to get a pamphlet for more information. He told Gulbranson he could look in his backpack for the pamphlets.

Inside the backpack, Gulbranson found tools, including flat-head screwdrivers — one of which had a bent end that looked like it has been used to pry something open. He also found pliers, wrenches, master keys and several dollars in quarters.

Gulbranson asked Mueller why he was carrying a backpack with master keys and tools if he was only inside getting pamphlets, and Mueller has no response, according to the complaint.

Gulbranson then checked the apartment complex for signs of damage and discovered a door to the maintenance room had signs of damage from a screwdriver and fresh metal shavings were on the floor below the door's lock.

A maintenance worker at the Manor Apartments at 480 West Main Street in Osakis also reported damage to a maintenance door to a room that contained the keys for all the Manor complex apartments. The door frame around the lock had fresh imprints from what appeared to be a flat-head screwdriver that the worker said wasn't there the previous day.

In addition to the felony charge, Mueller was also charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor, criminal damage to property. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 26.

"We want to thank the concerned citizen for reporting the suspicious activity that led to this arrest and prevented an actual burglary from occurring," Gulbranson said in a post on the police police department's Facebook page.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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