24-year-old faces 26 burglary charges [UPDATED]Published 7:44am Monday, June 30, 2014 Updated 9:45am Monday, June 30, 2014
A Perham man who allegedly stole more than $27,000 worth of items from six area cabin homes and a business over the winter had his first appearance Thursday.
Benjamin Anthony Ruther, 24, is charged with seven felony counts of third-degree burglary, six felony counts of second-degree burglary, five felony counts of receiving stolen property, four felony counts of possession of a pistol or
assault weapon-conviction, two felony counts of first-degree burglary-possession of a dangerous weapon or explosive, one felony count of fifth-degree drug possession and gross misdemeanor receiving stolen property.
According to the criminal complaint, Ruther burglarized five houses on Big McDonald Lane along Big McDonald Lake in between Vergas and Dent, one house on Jolly Fisherman Road along Long Lake just east of Vergas, and a business on county Hwy. 44 south of Dent between September 2013 and May 2014. At one location, a neighbor reportedly saw a vehicle parked on the public access several times in the early morning hours in late February and early March. One neighbor got a license plate number for the vehicle, which authorities reportedly found was registered to Ruther.
He allegedly stashed stolen items at multiple locations or asked others if he could keep items at their properties. He also allegedly asked a man if he would be interested in buying guns, which were stolen.
Many of the stolen items were reportedly found at Ruther’s house in Perham. Some items included: a washer and dryer, cash, underwater camera, DVD player, televisions, chainsaws, stuffed animals, poker chips, wall hangings, two night stands, 16 bottles of wine, and a space heater, the report says. He also allegedly stole an ATV, tools and guns.
The estimated total value of stolen items was $27,756.
In Ruther’s bedroom, authorities found a private driveway sign which was an apparent treasure he kept from committing the burglaries and stealing the property, the report says. Handwritten on the back of the sign was: “Seclusion Point, 4-4-2014, 4:30 a.m.,” and it was signed “Ben Ruther,” with “Benjamin Anthony Ruther” printed below, according to the report.
Ruther was arrested May 16 at an unrelated traffic stop near Rothsay.
According to Ruther’s jail calls, he reportedly told his mother that stealing is a “rush.”
Though many items were recovered, some are still missing, according to the report.
Ruther’s criminal history includes a April 15, 2011 conviction for a felony fifth-degree controlled substance crime.
Ruther’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 7.