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Man pleads to charge in burglary, robbery case

WILLMAR — Ray Travis Rivera, 19, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended gross misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree burglary for his role in robbing and assaulting a man on April 5 in Willmar.

As part of a plea agreement, the charge was reduced from felony level and three additional felony charges of aggravated robbery, theft and receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor for assault were dismissed. He will be sentenced July 14 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Rivera was one of three men charged in the case. Hippolito Manuel Sanchez, 23, and Rene Rivera III, 19, each face felony charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree aggravated robbery, terroristic threats, theft and receiving stolen property. Sanchez is also charged with lesser counts of property damage and fifth-degree assault and Rene Rivera also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of possession of brass knuckles.

Sanchez’s next hearing is June 19 and Rene Rivera’s next hearing is June 23.

According to the complaints, Willmar Police were called to the area of Fifth Street and Benson Avenue Southwest on April 5 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. 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.

The man said that Sanchez and Rivera 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 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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