HUGO — Four men have now been charged in connection to the burglary that happened earlier this month at the Speedway station, located at 148th Street and Highway 61.
The men are identified as William Donald Brennan-Darwitz, 28, of Saint Paul; Aaron Scott King Jr., 21, of Saint Paul; Emondre James Morrison, 23, of Saint Paul; and Tyler Nicolaus Paananen-Berneche, 26, of Newport.
According to the criminal complaint, a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff's Office was on routine patrol on Highway 61 near 147th Street North in Hugo when he observed a white Cadillac make a right turn without using its turn signal. The deputy subsequent conducted a traffic stop and made contact with the driver, identified as Brennan-Darwitz. The deputy noticed he appeared to be very nervous, was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and his hand was covered in blood.
The deputy noticed Morrison was wearing a long-sleeved black jacket and later located a green ski mask that had the eyes and mouth cut out in Morrison's jacket pocket. King admitted he took items from the store. Paananen-Berneche told the deputy “I was just riding with,” and admitted to taking cigarettes.
Upon searching the vehicle, the deputy located a large black cash register drawer and a large black plastic bag that contained multiple packs of cigarettes and cigars. A sledgehammer, bolt cutters and multiple pairs of gloves were also located in the car.
According to the complaint, another deputy responded to the Speedway, found one of the glass doors had been smashed and noticed the cash drawer was missing. The manager of the store subsequently provided photographs taken from within the store that shows a person using a sledgehammer to break the front door and another individual holding a pair of bolt cutters. Another person can be seen grabbing the cash register and running out of the store.
All four men have been charged with two felonies, second-degree burglary and possession of burglary/theft tools. The first charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and up to a $20,000 fine, and the second charge carries a maximum sentence of three years and up to a $5,000 fine.
King's next court appearance is scheduled for Oct.7 (initial appearance was July 14). Brennan-Darwitz's initial court appearance was scheduled for July 28 (after press deadline). Morrison's initial court appearance was scheduled for July 27 (after press deadline). Paananen-Berneche's next court appearance is scheduled for Aug.13 (initial appearance was July 22).