Charges: Pot rumor spurred Columbia Heights home invasion

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • June 11, 2014 - 7:26 AM

A bloody robbery at a Columbia Heights home was inspired by a teenager’s mistaken notion that there was a big stash of marijuana in the house, according to charges filed against one of the suspected masked perpetrators.

Austin Dennis, 20, was charged Monday in Anoka County District Court with first-degree aggravated robbery and first-degree burglary. Dennis remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

A 16-year-old has also been arrested in the armed home invasion Thursday in the 4100 block of Jefferson Street NE. that left a resident with “significant injury” to his head and face that required staples and stitches, the criminal complaint read.

According to the complaint:

Police officers were called to the home about 8:15 p.m. and met a man with a bloodied face. He was home alone when the masked men pounded on the door and then rushed in.

The dazed victim said the perpetrators hit him several times in the head with the wood stock of a shotgun and were asking where the “stuff” was in the house. The intruders left with some possessions.

Officers searched the neighborhood and found several electronic items that appeared to have been taken from the house.

Moments later, officers arrested Dennis and the teenager near 39th and Central Avenues, both of them out of breath after running nearly a mile from the crime scene and within a couple of blocks of Dennis’ apartment, the complaint said. Dennis’ shoes were bloodied.

Both suspects denied committing the crime to officers, but the teen later said he knew of a person who lived at the home. The beating victim’s roommate, identified in the criminal complaint only by a first name, told police that the teen thought there were 6 pounds of marijuana in the house.


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