A 30-year-old Brainerd man faces criminal charges after being connected to at least eight burglaries in Ideal Township, Mission Township and the Crosslake areas where power tools, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles were taken.
Cole James Grieger made his first appearance Friday, Feb. 1, in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd. He faces five felonies - two counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of theft of vehicles, and receiving stolen property - as well as gross misdemeanor fifth-degree drug possession and misdemeanor fleeing a peace officer.
The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office linked Grieger to the burglaries and he was found in possession of a stolen side-by-side ATV at the time of his arrest, which led investigators on a short foot pursuit.
According to the probable cause court document filed against the Brainerd man, a Crow Wing County deputy was dispatched Jan. 17 to a residence on Mission Park Drive in Merrifield for a possible burglary. The complainant was a passerby who reported seeing a garage door open and tracks in the driveway. The complainant stated he saw the suspicious activity so he stopped and walked to the snowmobile trail and observed several items, possibly a gas can, sitting in front of the garage. The complainant also drove past the residence on Jan. 16 and did not remember seeing the tracks down the driveway.
When the deputy arrived on scene he observed two sets of tracks in the driveway. One set appeared to belong to a snowmobile and the other to an ATV. The deputy learned Jan. 22 that the resident had a 2012 Polaris Ranger 800 parked in the garage, worth $12,000.
A deputy contacted the owner of a stolen 2015 Can Am Commander ATV, worth $10,000 taken from his detached garage in Crow Wing County. The owner was on vacation, out of the country.
The owner stated he was informed his detached garage door was open and he was missing the ATV.
Grieger was identified as a suspect in both burglaries and had been seen driving the stolen Polaris Ranger shortly after it was stolen. He was taken into custody on an active felony warrant following a foot pursuit Jan. 30; he also was in possession of the stolen Can Am Commander.
In a mirandized statement, he admitted to both burglaries and stealing the Ranger and Can Am Commander.
During a search incident to arrest, officers located a baggie containing methamphetamine.
Investigators continue to investigate the case and believe there may be more discoveries of burglaries attributed to Grieger, Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard said in a news release.
Goddard expressed his appreciation in the news release to the investigators and the Crosslake Police Department as well as the Cass County Sheriff's Office for their assistance.
"We will continue to work together and find those who are stealing from and burglarizing in our
community and put these offenders in jail," Goddard said.
The sheriff encourages seasonal and full-time residents to be vigilant in reporting suspicious activity and people. There are also many technology-related security features such as IP cameras that property owners can use in protecting their property when they are away, he said.