The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 19, 2010

Three arrested in armed robberies

One was at a bank, the other of a cabbie

MANKATO — Two men have been arrested and are facing aiding and abetting armed robbery charges for incidents involving a restaurant employee dropping off a bank deposit and a Mankato cab driver.

Both men and a 17-year-old Mankato boy were arrested by Mankato police officers Thursday with help from the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

One of the suspects was located in the parking lot of the River Hills Mall at about noon. The other two were taken into custody at the Cherry Street parking ramp in downtown Mankato about an hour later.

Aaron Jay Burzynski, 18, of Mankato, was working at Wendy’s Restaurant in Mankato when he helped set up the robbery of a shift manager there, according to criminal complaints filed Friday. The manager called 911 at about 2:15 a.m. Jan. 30 to report a man had robbed him at gunpoint as he was making a night deposit for the restaurant at First National Bank on Long Street.

The man investigators believe committed the robbery is 18-year-old Thomas Kendricks III of Le Sueur. Burzynski had called Kendricks and told him the restaurant had been busy that night, so it would be a good time to rob the manager, the complaints said.

The victim reported seeing a second suspect, dressed in black and wearing a ski mask, at the time of the robbery. He said he lost track of the two suspects after they ran north toward Franklin Rogers Park.

Investigators later learned the person with Kendricks was the 17-year-old boy, the complaint said. They were told the boy was paid $100, a juvenile female who drove them to the bank received $50, and Kendricks and Burzynski split another $1,400 from that robbery.

A second robbery of a cab driver Feb. 8 apparently led investigators to the suspect. In that incident, the juvenile female called the cab after Kendricks, Burzynski and the 17-year-old boy made a plan to rob the driver, the complaints said.

The driver called 911 at about 11:45 p.m. to report he had been robbed by three males after the girl and one of the males had gotten into his cab in the 200 block of North Fifth Street. He said the male in the car, later identified as Kendricks, pointed a gun at him and demanded money after two other males approached his car from outside. About $150 was stolen by the four suspects, who left together after the robbery, the driver reported.

When the girl was interviewed, she initially told police she ran away after the males approached to rob the cab driver, according to the complaints. She later admitted to being involved and identified Kendricks, Burzynski and the other teen as accomplices.

Bail was set at $300,000 without conditions and $100,000 with conditions for Kendricks and Burzynski when they appeared in court Friday. The juvenile male is to be in court Monday.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed later, a news release said.

Both Kendricks and Burzynski have faced criminal charges in the past. Burzynski, who was 17 years old at the time, was arrested for first-degree burglary for two incidents in January 2009. He was placed on probation after admitting to stealing electronics, cash and cigarettes from two residences. The victims were home at the time.

Kendricks posted a $5,000 bond for his release in October after he was arrested for using Facebook and text messages to threaten a female. His next court appearance for those charges is scheduled for March 29.

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