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Plea reached in Kaduce break-in

By Staff | Mar 23, 2009

A plea bargain has been reached with a 25-year-old man charged in connection with two break-ins at Kaduce Plumbing and Heating in Winnebago last September.

On Mon-day, Jose Alfredo Martinez of Blue Earth pleaded guilty in Faribault County Court to a felony count of receiving stolen property valued at more than $5,000.

“The top charge is receiving stolen property. It has the maximum penalty,” explains County Attorney Brian Roverud on why a plea agreement was made.

The stolen property charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and a $20,000 fine.

Three other felony charges — two counts of third-degree burglary and aiding an offender/accomplice after the fact — were all dismissed.

Roverud says investigation of the Sept. 13 and 23 break-ins continues.

To date no one has been charged with the burglaries, however, Roverud says that’s not unusual in such cases.

“Unless someone witnessed it or some physical evidence was left behind it’s difficult to pin it on someone,” he says.“If anybody has any additional information, we’d like them to contact us. We’d like to find out who actually did the break-ins,” Roverud adds.

Under the agreement, a pre-sentence investigation will be completed within 30 days.

Martinez, who has been in jail since being arrested last month, would serve any jail time before being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Prior to entering his guilty plea, Martinez took the stand.

While questioned by defense attorney Bill Grogin, he admitted he was not a legal citizen, had a prior felony conviction in Texas and was deported once before.

In a court complaint, Martinez denied breaking into Kaduce and stealing more than $40,000 in tools and equipment.

Martinez again stood by his story, telling County Attorney Brian Roverud that Derrick Anthony Elem and another man told him they had broken into Kaduce. He admits to helping one of them sell some of the items at two Mankato pawn shops.

Martinez told Roverud he was a former employee of Kaduce Plumbing, having worked there for about one year.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Derrick Anthony Elem remain unknown.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the 31-year-old Mankato man.

Elem has been charged with felony counts of receiving stolen property valued at more than $5,000 and aiding an offender-obstructing investigation of a third-degree burglary.

Authorities believe Elem has left the state and possibly could be in the Chicago area.