Three men charged with breaking into residences and cabins along the Mississippi River north of Burlington last December entered guilty pleas to several felony charges rather than go to trial Tuesday in Des Moines County District Court.
Michael Jagerson Jr., 23, Bryce Miller, 22, and Patrick Sanders, 26, all of Burlington, were scheduled to be tried together on several felony charges related to break-ins last December in which several residences and cabins were burglarized on O'Connell Beach Road, north of Burlington.
However, following pretrial conferences with their attorneys, Sanders entered a guilty plea last Friday and Jagerson and Miller entered guilty pleas Monday afternoon rather than go to trial Tuesday before District Judge Mary Ann Brown.
According to court records, the men entered the following guilty pleas:
• Jagerson to five counts of third-degree burglary and one count of possession of marijuana. He faces up to 25 years in prison. He will be sentenced May 21.
• Sanders to three counts of third-degree burglary. He faces up to 15 years in prison. He will be sentenced May 29.
• Miller to three counts of third-degree burglary. He also faces up to 15 years in prison. He will be sentenced June 4.
In addition, the men also will be required to make restitution for their crimes. The specific dollar amount they will be required to pay in restitution will be provided to the court by Justin Stonerook, an assistant Des Moines County attorney, at the time of sentencing.
According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will be allowed to ask the court to sentence the men to prison, while defense attorneys will be allowed to ask the court to place the men on probation.
Court records indicate all three men have prior felony convictions for burglary in Des Moines County.
Jagerson is also one of four men facing charges in Henderson County in connection with several break-ins New Year’s Eve at the Get Away cabins near Gladstone, Illinois.
The other three men charged in Illinois are Kaleb Shannan, 18, Dustan Fenton Jr., 19, and Kyle Parker, 23, all of Des Moines County.
The four men are accused of a crime spree over the New Year’s weekend. Footage from security cameras showing one of the Henderson County break-ins was posted Jan 1. to Facebook and viewed more than 160,000 times. It shows two men coming onto the property, breaking in and exiting with a large, flat-panel TV.
Their cases are pending in Henderson County Circuit Court, where they are facing multiple burglary and theft charges.
Investigators in both Iowa and Illinois said all six men are part of a loosely knit group who stole guns, flat-screen televisions, electronic equipment, video games, tools and a variety of other items in the burglaries from residences and cabins “up and down” the Mississippi River.
Authorities are attempting to determine where the group was able to sell that amount of stolen property in this area.
In the cases involving burglaries on O'Connell Beach Road, investigators from the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office used fingerprints and shoe prints to tie the three men to a series of residential burglaries Dec. 6 in which weapons, televisions, computers, video games and tools were among items taken from at least five homes.
In one burglary, 11 firearms were stolen, including several shotguns, rifles and handguns.
The dollar amount of the stolen property was not released. However, authorities said it appeared to be several thousands of dollars.
In most instances, the thieves either opened unlocked windows or broke out locked windows to gain entry into the residences and cabins.
According to court records, sheriff’s detectives began investigating the case after a resident notified them about 10 a.m. Dec. 6, his residence in the 100 block of O’Connell Beach Road had been burglarized.
Detectives later identified four additional home burglaries along O’Connell Beach Road.
In each case, investigators discovered “the same two tread patterns” on shoe prints taken from all five residences.
Detectives also discovered three sets of fingerprints on a new 55-inch flat screen television the resident had mounted to the wall above a fireplace three days before the break-in. The thieves were unable to remove that television from its mountings, but left several fingerprints on the television.
Investigators sent the television to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to process the fingerprints.
“The DCI lab located several fingerprints and palm prints on the television and determined the prints belonged to the (three suspects),” court records state.
Following the DCI report, arrest warrants were issued for the three men.