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Willmar man facing 33 charges in string of burglaries, thefts

A man who allegedly used a master key taken from his employer to break into apartments is in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Jered Haugen border.jpg
Haugen
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WILLMAR — A Willmar man is in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $50,000 bail, charged with 18 felonies. They are part of a list of 33 charges related to a series of apartment break-ins in the Willmar area in March and April, allegedly accomplished using an unauthorized master key.

Jered Paul Haugen, 39, was arrested in April, and the criminal complaint spelling out the charges was amended in late June and again a week ago to add more charges.

In his most recent court appearance last week in Kandiyohi County District Court, bail was set at $50,000.

His next court date is a pretrial hearing Sept. 22.

According to court records, Haugen faces 11 felony burglary charges, 11 theft charges, 10 charges of receiving stolen property and one felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. Some of the theft and receiving stolen property charges are misdemeanors.

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The criminal complaint describes a series of apartment burglaries from March 9 through April 9, when Haugen was arrested after fleeing in a vehicle from a Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputy.

The chase came after a New London resident reported a burglary in progress at his apartment. The man reported that someone had entered his apartment and called out, “Maintenance.” The man said he had been sleeping and did not get up until he heard unusual noises. He found a man going through a cabinet and saw several items on the floor near the door.

When the man saw him, he ran out of the apartment, according to the criminal complaint. The resident reported the incident and described the man and his vehicle.

A short time later a man matching Haugen’s description was pulled over by a deputy. During the traffic stop, Haugen drove away at speeds that reached 110 mph as he was being pursued by officers. The pursuit ended at the city limits because of safety concerns.

Haugen was later arrested at his home in Willmar.

Deputies learned that Haugen worked for a contractor who did maintenance work in apartments in the Willmar area and had a master key that would open a number of apartments in the area, according to court records. The man’s supervisor said Haugen could have had time to duplicate the master key while he was working in the apartment buildings.

Investigators eventually allegedly linked Haugen to burglaries and thefts in Willmar. Numerous items that had been reported stolen were found when authorities executed a search warrant at Haugen’s home, according to court records. A friend turned in property he had received from Haugen and came to suspect had also been stolen, according to the complaint.

Among the items reported stolen: Computers, video game consoles, TVs, tool boxes, power tools, a coin collection worth $1,000, gold jewelry, pots and pans and small appliances.

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The combined estimated value of items listed in the complaint was more than $9,600. Estimates were not listed for all items.

One burglary was reported in a storage locker, where fishing equipment, including a trolling motor and an ice auger, were taken. In that case, the padlock had been drilled.

When Haugen’s phone was searched, investigators found photos of the storage locker and its contents and 83 images matching the description of items stolen. Haugen had allegedly given the fishing equipment to a friend, telling him it belonged to his girlfriend’s uncle.

Investigators checked incoming and outgoing messages from the jail while Haugen was an inmate. They read text messages allegedly between Haugen and a woman.

“I was doing all that to get money for us, for our place, for our bills. Everything I did was for us, Babe.” In another message: “I wanted us to have all those things.”

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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