COLUMBUS — The suspect in a local business break-in returned to Columbus on Wednesday afternoon following his arrest and extradition from Kingman, Arizona.

Matthew Braun, 29, of North Dakota was arraigned Thursday in Platte County Court on charges of burglary and theft by unlawful taking over $5,000 in connection with the Nov. 1 burglary at Maximus in which a safe, stereo equipment, video surveillance system and cash were stolen.

Maximus management estimated there was about $8,000 cash in the stolen safe.

Judge Frank Skorupa set Braun’s bond at $100,000, 10 percent allowed for release, and scheduled the defendant for a Dec. 20 status hearing on the Class 2A felony charges, each punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

Court documents describe a Columbus Police investigation in which video surveillance from next-door neighbor Sleep Inn led to the identification of the burglary suspect.

Officer Bradley Wangler reported video from around 4 a.m. that morning showed a silver Pontiac Grand Prix back up to the south side of Sleep Inn, with a “subject struggling to place an item consistent in size with the safe stolen at Maximus into the trunk of the vehicle.”

More video footage, Wangler wrote, showed the same subject carrying a dark bag and loading other items into the vehicle. The video also allowed police to trace the room the suspect was sharing with a woman at the hotel, he said.

The officer reported Braun and the woman checked out of the hotel by leaving the keys in the room the day of the burglary at the 23rd Street restaurant and sports bar.

Wangler reported further review of the video led to the identification of Braun from a booking photo provided by the West Fargo Police Department in North Dakota.

A West Fargo department bulletin reported Braun’s previous mode of operation was to break into bars and restaurants that have coin-operated machines or ATMs and, once inside, break into cash registers and safes.



Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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