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Three men face slew of charges for alleged burglary, robbery

WILLMAR — Three Willmar men made their first court appearance Tuesday on multiple felony charges for their alleged roles in robbing and assaulting a man Saturday in Willmar.

Unconditional bail was set at $100,000 for each of the men, Hippolito Manuel Sanchez, 23, Rene Rivera III, 19, and Ray Travis Rivera, 18. Rene Rivera and Sanchez are scheduled to make their next appearance on April 21. Ray Rivera’s next hearing is May 5 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Sanchez faces felony charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree aggravated robbery, terroristic threats, theft and receiving stolen property, plus a gross misdemeanor for property damage and a misdemeanor for fifth-degree assault. Rene Rivera faces the same five felony charges and a gross misdemeanor for possession of brass knuckles.

Ray Rivera faces four felony charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree aggravated robbery, theft and receiving stolen property, plus a misdemeanor for fifth-degree assault.

According to the complaints, Willmar Police were called to the area of Fifth Street and Benson Avenue Southwest on Saturday regarding a fight. However, when the first two officers arrived, they were directed toward a black sport utility vehicle that was driving away. One officer followed the vehicle while the other spoke with a man who said he’d been robbed by several men.

The man said he’d been near his apartment and that two men, later identified as Sanchez and Ray Rivera, had come after him and pushed their way into his apartment door. He said the men assaulted him and Sanchez accused him of taking some of Sanchez’s belongings.

The man said that Sanchez threatened to shoot him and that they were in the apartment for 10 minutes.

Sanchez and Rivera allegedly removed the man’s property, including athletic shoes and clothing, jewelry and cash, from the apartment. They also took a television set that was found smashed on the ground. Rene Rivera also allegedly threatened the man.

The man identified all three men, who were arrested and interviewed at the Law Enforcement Center. Rene Rivera claimed they were attacked by two Somalis for no reason and that they tried to leave and grabbed some things and left. He claimed to not know that the items found in the vehicle were stolen. He later claimed they confronted the man, but that they never took anything from his apartment.

Sanchez refused to speak to officers. In his interview, Ray Rivera said that only Sanchez went into the man’s apartment and that neither he nor Rene Rivera took anything.

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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