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Four men indicted in Washington County home invasion

  • Article by: Kevin Giles
  • Star Tribune
  • August 19, 2014 - 9:09 PM

A discarded bandage left at the scene of a Washington County home robbery in 2013 has led to federal indictments against four suspects.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, working with the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Milwaukee, said Tuesday the suspects were part of a ring responsible for similar robberies in Wisconsin and elsewhere in Minnesota.

Named were Jarold Cruz, 29; Siphanh Phongsavath, 35; Luis Antonio Ortiz, 21, and David Vega, 25.

On July 8, 2013, a woman in West Lakeland Township reported that four men forcibly entered her house, bound her hands and feet with zip ties, and stole jewelry, coins and a safe from the residence. During the crime, a black handgun was brandished, said Investigations Cmdr. Brian Mueller of the Sheriff’s Office.

The woman, who owns a St. Paul restaurant, said that when she responded to a knock on the door, two men wearing reflective utility vests rushed her and bound her hands and feet. She said she was carried or thrown from room to room. She told authorities she saw two additional men during the robbery. At least two wore bandannas over their faces.

The woman, who lives in the 800 block of Mendel Avenue N., was able to free herself and call the Sheriff’s Office after the incident, which happened about 8 p.m.

A Band-Aid recovered from the scene provided DNA that identified a person from the Milwaukee area. A subsequent investigation by the Brown County, Wis., Sheriff’s Office, Milwaukee police, the FBI and the Metro Regional Information Collaborative resulted in identifying the four men, Mueller said.

He said the Washington County Sheriff’s Office continues to assist in the federal prosecution of the case.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037

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