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Willmar, Minn., men busted for burglary after witness takes pictures, IDs them

WILLMAR — Two Willmar men made their first court appearances Thursday on felony charges of second-degree burglary, along with a gross misdemeanor count of theft and a misdemeanor count of property damage, for allegedly breaking into an apartment Tuesday afternoon on the southwest side of the city.

According to the complaints against Farah Hirsi Awale, 19, and Mohamed Ahmed Omar, 27, a citizen who saw the burglary happen and then took photos of the men taking away the stolen items helped identify Awale and Omar as the perpetrators of the crime.

Unconditional bail was set at $40,000 for Omar, whose next appearance is Oct. 9 in Kandiyohi County District Court. Bail was set at $15,000 for Awale, whose next appearance is Nov. 21.

According to the complaints, Willmar police were called just before 3 p.m. Tuesday to Ninth Street Southwest. A woman there reported that she had seen two men, a man in a yellow shirt and another in a red sweater, enter a nearby apartment and take items, which they put into the trunk of a silver car. The woman had taken photos of the men as they left the location.

An officer found the vehicle and the men matching the description given by the woman in the downtown area. The woman later identified the men as the burglars.

Awale was interviewed and denied any burglary, claiming that he had been sitting a picnic table near Bethel Church since 1 p.m.

The owner of the vehicle allowed officers to search the trunk, where they found a game system and accessories and a laptop computer.

When the two men were taken into custody, Awale claimed that Omar was the person who actually entered the apartment and took the items.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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