By Rachel Kytonen
Isanti County News
A Mounds View man is facing felony charges in connection with burglaries at two local restaurants.
The burglaries involved stealing various items and money around Jan. 17-18 from Jumpin’ Jacks, located in rural North Branch, and the Brass Rail in Grandy.
Brandon Thomas Neuschwander, 23, of Mounds View was charged before Judge Karla Hancock Feb. 27 in Isanti County District Court in Cambridge with the following:
• Two counts of felony first-degree burglary with possession of a dangerous weapon.
• Two counts of felony second-degree burglary with possession of a tool to gain access to money or property.
Hancock set bail at $150,000 without conditions or $75,000 with conditions and Neuschwander’s next court appearance for March 11.
According to the criminal complaints:
On Jan. 17, at 5 a.m., Isanti County deputies were dispatched to an alarm at Jumpin’ Jacks, 27796 Jodrell St. NE, North Branch. Upon arrival, officers determined the exterior door going into the kitchen of the business had been pried open and was still partially open. The cabinets behind the bar had been gone through, and glass bottles were broken. A closet containing alcohol was entered, and the door leading into the back office was pried open and the door frame was broken.
Surveillance video showed two males inside of the bar, and one can be seen with a crow bar. Distinct, fresh, tire tracks and shoe prints in the snow were located outside of the business and photographed.
The matter was referred to investigator Rob Bowker, and on Jan. 27, Bowker received information from several anonymous sources regarding the burglaries at Jumpin’ Jacks and Brass Rail.
Bowker learned that on Jan. 17, Neuschwander entered Jumpin’ Jacks using pry bars to force entry into the business. Once inside, he searched for money but did not find any. Neuschwander ended up stealing two cartoons of cigarettes and two bottles of alcohol. At that point, the phone rang inside the business, and he ran back to his vehicle, dropping his pry bar in the snow on the way to the vehicle.
On Jan. 18, Isanti County deputies were dispatched to the Brass Rail, 36868 Highway 65 NE, Grandy, and met with owner Rod Knowles. Knowles said he responded to a notification from his alarm company and found his restaurant had been burglarized around 5:30 a.m.
Pry marks were found on the back door to the restaurant, where entry was forced into the building. Once inside, Neuschwander entered an office where computer equipment for the security system was located and pushed it onto the floor. Garbage bags, paperwork and boxes were thrown from the bar area. Two locked drawers containing cash and coins were opened, with a total of $680 reported stolen. Surveillance video shows a male in a hooded sweatshirt behind the bar going through items under the bar. Pry marks on the door and the interior of the restaurant were photographed.
Outside of the restaurant, tire tracks were located in the alley behind the restaurant, and the tire tread pattern was consistent with those found after the burglary at Jumpin’ Jacks. Additionally, shoe prints in the snow and mud were located, and were consistent with the shoe prints at Jumpin’ Jacks. Law enforcement also learned Neuschwander carried a black, .25-caliber automatic pistol during both burglaries.
On Jan. 28, a search warrant executed on Neuschwander’s vehicle recovered a bottle of Jim Beam, tennis shoes, a hooded sweatshirt, latex gloves, two pry bars, gloves, a face mask and a mini flashlight.
On Feb. 27, Bowker attempted to interview Neuschwander, but he refused.
Rachel Kytonen can be reached at [email protected]