Solving a series of burglaries came easy for a couple Farmington police officers earlier this month. All they had to do was follow footprints in fresh snow to catch the culprits.
Police arrested a 17-year-old male and 20-year-old Joshua Dircks of Farmington Dec. 6, in connection with several burglaries and thefts from vehicles in residential downtown Farmington.
Officers responded around 6:20 that morning to the report of a burglary at a home on Third Street. They responded to another 40 minutes later. Looking around the neighborhood, the officers saw footprints leading to several homes and decided to follow the tracks.
All the tracks led back to a house at the 1000 block of Third Street. Officers knocked at the door, which was answered by a woman who lives there with her daughters. At first, detective Lee Hollatz said, the woman denied knowing anything about any thefts or burglaries and turned the officers away.
Officers Sean Scovill and Jason Amundson worked the calls. Seeing multiple sets of tracks, they knocked on doors at homes where tracks were present and asked the residents if they were missing any items. Another five residents reported missing items, mostly from their cars or their detached garages.
The officers returned to the home at the 1000 block of Third Street. In the time since their first visit, Hollatz said, the woman had learned that Dircks and a 17-year-old juvenile male had been admitted to the home overnight. According to the Dakota County attorney's criminal complaint, the woman also found several items that did not belong to her. When she questioned Dircks, he allegedly admitted taking the items.
The woman told officers Dircks and the teen were at the residence, as well as the items. She also told them Dircks told her to make police officers get a search warrant, which the officers did.
After executing the search warrant, officers found the stolen items -- a stereo, power tools, sunglasses, fishing equipment and an iPod among them. Dircks and the teen were arrested when they left the woman's home.
Dircks is being held at the Dakota County jail on first degree burglary charges, as well as a felony assault charge from a March 25, 2008 incident in which Dircks and another man, Justin Sobel, allegedly kicked another man so much he received injuries to his interior and exterior sinus cavities. Additionally, the criminal complaint states, Dircks and Sobel attempted to take the victim's wallet and cell phone.
According to the latter complaint, Dircks has a warrant history and a history of failing to appear. He is being held on an order of detention for the burglaries, with a $60,000 bail without conditions, $30,000 with conditions. His next scheduled court date is March 24, 2009.