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Suspect charged in Montevideo car wash burglary


MONTEVIDEO — A suspect is facing multiple charges stemming from a burglary reported last week at a Montevideo car wash.

Lee Michael Rolfes, 38, of Iona, made an initial appearance Monday in Chippewa County District Court. He is charged with one count of second-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree burglary, theft and criminal damage to property, all felonies. He also faces two misdemeanor counts of fleeing on foot and disorderly conduct.

The break-in at Black Oak Car Wash was reported Jan. 31 to Montevideo police. Surveillance video captured a vehicle pulling up and parking at the car wash at around 6 p.m. the day before. Someone then exited the vehicle and appeared to break into a locked mechanical room where a change machine was kept.

Further security footage from early the next morning showed the same vehicle at the car wash and someone removing electronics and power equipment from the premises.

Montevideo police located a vehicle matching the description of the car seen in the surveillance video and tracked the suspect, identified as Rolfes, to an apartment building.

According to the criminal complaint, Rolfes was found hiding in a bedroom closet and came out shouting and lunging at two police officers on the scene, then fled by jumping out a second-story window. He eventually was found hiding in a locked closet in a common area of the apartment building and was taken into custody, according to the complaint.

A search warrant was executed on his car, and authorities recovered electronic equipment, drills and other power equipment.

The owner of the car wash reported to police that the electronics and power tools amounted to at least $3,000 in value. The cash and coins taken from the change machine totaled about $1,000. An overhead door and an alarm panel also were damaged and the change machine was broken, the criminal complaint said.

Terms of release for Rolfes were set Monday at $20,000 with conditions and $75,000 for unconditional release.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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