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Three Willmar men charged with brandishing weapons and ordering woman out of her apartment

An alleged break-in of a Willmar apartment where a woman said she was threatened with guns and baseball bats has led to felony burglary and assault charges against three Willmar men. They all made Kandiyohi County District Court appearances this week.

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WILLMAR — Three Willmar men are facing felony burglary and assault charges after reportedly breaking into a Willmar apartment Nov. 2 and threatening the woman who lived there. They are also charged with stealing her purse.

The men, Danny Torres, 34, Franky Esquivel Torres, 32, and Samuel Lee Berends, 27, were arrested Nov. 3 in Willmar and made their first appearances this week in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Franky Torres and Berends each face four felony charges, and Danny Torres has been charged with six felonies. Each also faces a misdemeanor theft charge.

Danny Torres faces three counts of first-degree burglary, a charge of possessing a firearm after a violent crime conviction and two counts of second-degree assault. His attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the charges.

Bail for Danny Torres was set at $150,000 for unconditional release, $2,500 bond or $400 cash for release with conditions. His next court appearance is Jan. 14.


Berends and Franky Torres each face three counts of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree assault.

Bail for Franky Torres was set at $200,000 for unconditional release and $25,000 cash or bond for release with conditions. His next court appearance is Jan. 14.

Bail for Berends was set at $100,000 for unconditional release and $1,000 bond or $100 cash for conditional release. His next court appearance is Dec. 10.

Conditions for release include not leaving the state, no possession of drugs or alcohol, no contact with the alleged victims and no possession of firearms.

According to court records, a woman was alone in her apartment Saturday night in southwest Willmar when the three men came into the apartment. The woman allegedly recognized all three men.

The woman said Danny Torres pointed a black handgun at her and yelled at her to get out of the house. The other two men had baseball bats.

The men allegedly said they were looking for two people. The woman recognized one name but not the other.

The woman left the apartment while the men went through the apartment. In the yard, another man pointed a gun at her and told her to stay in the yard. When her housemate returned to the house, the man told them both to stay in the yard, according to criminal complaints.


When the men came out of the apartment, the male apartment resident ran. When all four men chased him, the woman went back into the apartment to call 911, but her purse and phone were gone.

The woman said she began walking to a convenience store and encountered her housemate along the way. They returned home and left in the man’s car. As they drove away, the four men began following them in a vehicle.

They drove to the Kandiyohi County Law Enforcement Center next. After speaking with the alleged victims, Willmar police began searching for the men.

A tip Sunday morning led them to a southwest Willmar home where the three men were taken into custody.

Franky Torres asked to speak to an officer during his ride to the jail. He said he had been home with his wife the entire night. He said they allegedly received social media messages from the male apartment resident saying he had Franky Torres’ bike.

The next morning he learned that Danny Torres and Berends had retrieved his bike but did not know how it happened.


In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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