A Minneapolis man allegedly involved in a violent home invasion burglary ring that targeted several Latino families in south Minneapolis was charged Wednesday in two new cases.
Robert E. Buckingham, 33, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with one count each of first-degree burglary and first-degree aggravated robbery in connection with a June 2 burglary.
He was also charged with one count of first-degree burglary in a June 26 incident.
Buckingham was charged last month with one count each of first-degree burglary and first-degree aggravated robbery in connection with an Aug. 11 burglary of the same home from the June 2 case.
Police have said they are investigating the roles of three possible accomplices in the burglaries, which targeted up to 23 homes in the city’s Third Precinct. No other suspects have been charged.
Latino families with children, some as young as 9 months old, were targeted by intruders who wielded knives and guns while demanding money. In many instances, the victims were forced at gunpoint to a room or closet.
Police spokesman John Elder said Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing.
No additional suspects have been identified and no new similar burglaries have been reported, he said, adding that the department has reached out to Latino families in south Minneapolis as part of its investigation.
“It’s been an orchestrated outreach,” Elder said.
Police previously said the victims may have been targeted because some are in the U.S. illegally and possess large amounts of cash because they don’t use banks.
The Hennepin County Public Defender’s office, which is representing Buckingham in the case charged last month, declined to comment.
According to the new criminal complaints: Police responded to a burglary at 11:12 a.m. on June 2 in the 2700 block of S. 12th Avenue. A victim told police that Buckingham came through the front door with a handgun and pointed it at his brother and demanded all the money they had in the home.
Buckingham allegedly smashed open one piggy bank, unsuccessfully tried to smash a second piggy bank and took an unidentified item from a dresser. He allegedly pointed his gun at both victims during the burglary.
Buckingham was charged last month with ransacking the same home in August and stealing $10,000 in cash. In that instance, he allegedly was armed with a “large knife” and zip-tied a 14-year-old boy. He left the boy in a bathroom and threatened to kill him. Two other children, a 2-year-old and an older child with Down syndrome, were also home at the time and appeared physically unharmed.
The new charges allege that at 6:53 p.m. on June 26, Buckingham knocked on the door of a home in the 2700 block of S. 15th Avenue. He pushed his way inside when someone answered the door.
He pointed a semiautomatic handgun at a man, grabbed the victim’s cellphone and turned it off. He also punched the victim in the face and forced him to ransack a bedroom, the charges said. The victim’s juvenile sister witnessed portions of the incident.
A search warrant said Buckingham has been linked to eight of the home invasions through “historical GPS locations of his cellphone and video.”
Buckingham’s criminal record includes convictions for first-degree burglary in three cases and a conviction for fifth-degree assault.