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Suspected Two-Time Burnsville Liquor Store Burglar Arrested

Police say Chol Waragak Gatluak allegedly skipped out on his rehab facility and broke into the same liquor store twice last July, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

An Austin, Minn., man being sought by Burnsville authorities on burglary and property damage charges was arrested Monday in Mower County.

Chol Waragak Gatluak, 27, is charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and one count of first-degree criminal damage to property, each a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Gatluak is also charged with theft, a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Gatluak, who made a first appearance on the charges Tuesday, remains in the Dakota County Jail on a $20,000 bond. An omnibus hearing in his case is scheduled May 8 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.

According to the criminal complaint, Burnsville police responded to a burglar alarm at a liquor store on Burnsville Parkway West at about 10:30 p.m. last July 3. When they arrived, they found a broken window on the building’s north side, and a volleyball-size rock on the floor inside the store’s office.

Officers found a bottle of bottle of Hennessy cognac on a desk in the office and a “bloodlike substance” on some cabinets and on a door leading from the office to the rest of the building. In the retail area of the store, they found a liquor case with an open door and a shattered bottle of Hennessy.

Police sent samples of the suspected blood to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis. The store owner estimated his loss at about $1,500.

On July 21, just after midnight, Burnsville police were again called to the liquor store when a burglar alarm was tripped. Again, someone had broken a window on the building’s north side with a large rock, and there was a red bloodlike substance on the broken window, the wall, the floor and window shades.

The culprit left behind a pair of sunglasses and a screwdriver. The store’s owner told police that several bottles of Hennessy were missing from a display case near the cash register, and packs of cigarettes were found on the floor near the cash register and in the aisle.

The owner estimated damage in the second burglary at more than $2,130.

Police viewed surveillance video from the store and saw a black man entering the store at 11:46 p.m. The man was wearing a red T-shirt, plaid shorts, white shoes, a black hat and a watch on his left wrist; he appeared to be between 6 feet and 6-foot-2, and between 170 and 190 pounds.

The store’s owner called police on July 22 and said he believed that the suspect had been in the store earlier that day.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completed its DNA analysis of the two separate blood samples in October and January, and both matched the DNA profile belonging to Gatluak, according to the complaint.

Police spoke to Gatluak on Oct. 31. He denied being in the liquor store on either occasion, claiming that he had been in rehab, though he did admit that he had purchased liquor there in the past, the complaint says.

Police also spoke to Gatluak’s probation officer, who said Gatluak’s treatment facility was not secured and that he was on a pass on July 1 and had requested another pass for the holiday weekend. The probation officer said Gatluak left the treatment facility on July 10 and didn’t return.

Gatluak’s criminal record includes a 2007 conviction for third-degree burglary and DWI convictions in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

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