Two Northfield teenagers have been charged with burglarizing the home of a woman who was in the hospital, stealing jewelry that they planned to exchange for methamphetamine.
Cody Jonathan Luiken and Schuyler Keaton Brook, both 19, are charged with second-degree burglary, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Brook is also charged with felony fifth-degree drug possession, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and two lesser crimes: possession of hypodermic needles or syringes and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the criminal complaints filed in Rice County District Court, Northfield Police were called to a home in the 300 block of Linden Street North just before 11:30 a.m. Oct. 10 to investigate a report of a burglary.
Officers met with the homeowner and her grandson, who said that someone had broken into the house and had stolen several pieces of jewelry. The woman’s grandson said his grandmother had been admitted to the hospital the day before with cardiac problems. When she returned home the next morning, she noticed that some of her jewelry was missing.
The grandson, who also lives in the house, said it appeared that some items on his grandmother’s dresser appeared to have been “knocked around” and pushed to the floor, but he assumed that his grandmother had disturbed the items when she began having cardiac pains. He asked her about them when she got home, and she said she had been in a different room when she began feeling ill.
Police checked the house and discovered that a sliding door on the porch was out of alignment, and the screen beside the door had been cut. They also found fresh scrapes on the porch door latch, as though someone had pried the latch open, and footprints on the porch floor.
The woman’s grandson said that when he left the house early on the morning of Oct. 9, he saw Luiken, with whom he was acquainted, walking in the area of Highway 3 and St. Olaf Avenue. He said he and Luiken used to be friends, but he had avoided Luiken for five months because Luiken was “using drugs pretty heavily.” Luiken had been in the house before and would have been familiar with it, the man said.
Police responded to another home burglary report in the 300 block of Orchard Street South just before 3 p.m. Oct. 10. That burglary also was accomplished by a forced entry and involved the theft of jewelry, according to the complaints.
The victim’s grandson called police later that afternoon and said he had spoken to Luiken’s girlfriend, who told him that Luiken had given her a necklace on the evening of Oct. 9. She gave the necklace to the victim’s grandson; he showed it to his grandmother, who identified it as one of the stolen pieces of jewelry.
Luiken’s girlfriend told police that Luiken carried a small lockbox with him wherever he went. She said the box was small enough to carry in a backpack or stow under the seat of a car.
Police spotted Luiken traveling in a car driven by his girlfriend just after 1:30 p.m. Oct. 11, and stopped the car. Luiken was arrested, and his girlfriend was allowed to leave.
Luiken’s mother turned over her son’s lockbox and backpack to police.
Officers searched the backpack and lockbox and found several car keys, a lock-picking set and several pieces of jewelry, one of which was identified as an item taken from the woman in the hospital.
Luiken admitted to police that he helped Brook burglarize the woman’s home, according to the complaints. He said he knocked on the door and rang the doorbell several times to make sure no one was home, then Brook broke in and took the jewelry, the complaints charge.
Luiken said he and Brook met later to divide up the stolen jewelry, and that he gave one piece of jewelry to his girlfriend and another to his mother, who later returned that item to police, according to the complaints. Luiken also said he had seen several pieces of stolen property at Brook’s home, the complaints charge.
Police executed a search warrant at Brook’s home on Oct. 11. They found Brook inside the garage and arrested him; during a search of the home and garage, officers found loose jewelry and jewelry boxes, two spoons with suspected drug residue, a loaded syringe and new syringes, according to the complaints. The drugs tested positive for methamphetamine.
Brook subsequently told police that Luiken committed the Linden Street burglary, and that Luiken had promised to “hook him up”—provide him with methamphetamine—if Brook agreed to keep the stolen property at his home, according to the complaints. He also admitted taking some of the stolen jewelry to a drug dealer and trading it for methamphetamine, the complaints say.
Police searched Brook’s cell phone and found text messages exchanged between Brook and Luiken, discussing jewelry and trading it for methamphetamine, according to the complaints.
Luiken and Brook remain in the Rice County Jail on separate $100,000 bonds. Both have initial appearances scheduled Oct. 22 in Rice County District Court.