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Willmar man appears on theft, burglary charges

WILLMAR -- A Willmar man appeared Thursday on multiple charges including the theft of a motor vehicle valued at $30,000 Carlos Lee Rey Garza, 25, made his first court appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court. The court ordered bail set at $5...

Carlos Lee Rey Garza
Carlos Lee Rey Garza

WILLMAR - A Willmar man appeared Thursday on multiple charges including the theft of a motor vehicle valued at $30,000

Carlos Lee Rey Garza, 25, made his first court appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court. The court ordered bail set at $50,000 unconditional and $5,000 with conditions that include he have no contact with the alleged victims.

Garza faces a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing the motor vehicle on June 28. He also faces a felony charge of first-degree burglary and gross misdemeanor damage to property for allegedly entering a garage without permission and causing damage to a vehicle inside on Aug. 13. Two felony charges of credit card fraud stem from alleged incidents on June 17.

Several witnesses described Garza by his tattoo, a large star on the left side of his neck.

The vehicle, a 2017 Kia Sorrento, was taken after the owner parked June 28 outside the Kandiyohi County Office Building and left it running.

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As he came out of the building, he saw two men attempting to open the vehicle. They got in and drove away. The owner said the cell phone and wallet with credit cards were in the vehicle. Later in the day, the credit cards were used at Willmar businesses.

On July 6, authorities were tipped that the vehicle was in a garage in the 500 block of First Street South. When officers arrived at the entrance, they allegedly saw Garza riding away on a bicycle.

After receiving permission to search the garage, officers found a vehicle that was identified using the vehicle identification number. The vehicle was being dismantled in the garage, with the front grill, interior door panels and the center console removed and the windshield shattered. All four tires were missing.

On Aug. 13, Garza is accused of damaging a vehicle in the 400 block of Ninth Street Southwest. A man reported that his car had been parked in his garage, and the windshield and driver's door window were smashed, and the hood had been dented. A boy told the owner that he had seen a man leave the garage and described Garza. The owner said he knew Garza.

A Sauk Centre woman had reported June 17 that her wallet had been stolen from her purse early that day. Her credit cards were used later in the day at numerous businesses Willmar businesses.

Surveillance video and other information showed Garza, sometimes with other individuals, allegedly using the cards. In all, $1,564.27 was charged to the woman's cards.

Related Topics: BURGLARY
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: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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