BEMIDJI, Minn.-A 40-year-old northwest Minnesota man who deputies say was high on meth and drunk and who burglarized multiple fish houses on Lake Bemidji has been charged with two felonies.
According to a criminal complaint:
Beltrami County Deputy Josh Arhart discovered Christopher Robin Braun of Fosston briefly stopping at multiple fish houses on Lake Bemidji in the early morning hours of Jan. 30.
Arhart had been surveilling two fish house villages on the lake after a recent rash of burglaries and saw Braun's minivan stop at about six different fish houses for periods of 30 seconds to two minutes.
Braun kept getting in and out of his vehicle, which is consistent with "burglary activity," the complaint said. Arhart called for another deputy, Brian Birt, to find the minivan and conduct a traffic stop.
Birt stopped the minivan and found that Braun and his passenger, who was not charged in the burglaries, appeared to be high on meth. Birt also found an underwater camera, tools, batteries, a gas can and several extension cords in the back of the van.
Braun told Birt that he was not fishing, and that he and his passenger had been driving around the lake and gotten lost. Birt told Braun that Arhart had seen him burglarizing the fish houses.
Braun was arrested after failing several field sobriety tests, and his passenger was detained and taken to the Law Enforcement Center for questioning.
The passenger told deputies that she had seen Braun break into several fish houses and steal from them, but that she had not participated in the burglaries.
A "subsequent investigation" found that some of the items that Birt saw in Braun's minivan had been taken from fish houses on Lake Bemidji. The owners of the fish houses said they did not know Braun or his passenger and did not give them permission to go inside the fish houses.
Braun was charged with two counts of third-degree burglary, second-degree DWI and fifth-degree possession of meth. He is scheduled to appear in court for an omnibus hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 20.