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Sidney woman appears in court on local burglary charges

Richmond accused of role in ring that stole medication, jewelry, cash

 

Rob Langrell / Publisher of the Sun-Telegraph

Mindy Richmond was in Cheyenne County Court on Wednesday.

A 36-year-old Sidney woman appeared in Cheyenne County Court on Wednesday for a status hearing on charges of conducting a string of residential burglaries throughout Sidney and surrounding communities.

Mindy Richmond is charged with six counts of burglary. However, law enforcement officials have said she may be connected to more than 100 burglaries in Cheyenne County within the past two years.

"A list of over 70 residences were identified as targets in the burglaries just in the Sidney city limits," a Sidney Police Department release issued last month stated. "Many locations were identified as targets in the county as well, driving the total number of burglaries committed to be well over 100."

An investigation into the other burglaries continues, and Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Doug Warner has said there is no timeline for when other charges could be added.

Warner was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case because some of the residences burglarized belonged to county law enforcement and court officials.

In court on Wednesday, a preliminary hearing was set for Friday, July 24 at 9 a.m. She is represented by court-appointed counsel James Korth.

Richmond is being held in custody on a $100,000 bond.

Police have said another woman participated in the burglaries with Richmond. While the second woman has yet to be charged by Cheyenne County authorities, Richmond was arrested in May in Logan County, Colo., along with with Tanya Yates, of Sidney, while allegedly attempting to burglarize a house.

Yates was released from a Colorado jail on May 27 and Richmond on June 3 after each posted a $2,500 bond surety, according to court documents.

Both face various charges stemming from their Colorado arrests. Richmond is charged with two counts of child abuse, driving under the influence, trespass and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Yates is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and trespass.

According to a Logan County arrest affidavit, sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a small community near Sterling, Colo., on the afternoon of May 21 after a teenage girl, who was home alone, called 911 to report two females had attempted to enter her house.

The teenager told deputies one of the women knocked on the front door before trying "to turn the knob to open the door several times." Because the door was locked, she was not able to enter.

"A few minutes later, [the teenager] said she heard more knocking and movement by their back door near their garage," the affidavit states.

After being unable to gain entry, the women drove off while the teenage called 911 and provided a description of the vehicle and women.

About 40 minutes later, Logan County Sheriff's Deputies located the vehicle near Sterling. Inside were two women who fit the provided descriptions – later identified as Richmond, who was driving, and Yates – along with two toddlers.

Richmond told law enforcement they had been traveling back roads when they became lost, "so they stopped at two houses to ask for directions." She denied trying to push open any doors.

According to the affidavit, Richmond's movements were "fast" and "twitchy," and her pupils were constricted.

After she "failed to complete voluntary roadside maneuvers in a manner consistent with sobriety," she was arrested.

"By Richmond's driving while under the influence, she unnecessarily placed both young juveniles in a situation that posed the threat of injury to their life or health," the affidavit states.

Yates was also placed into custody "for her role in the incident," a deputy wrote.

A search of the vehicle turned up three pill bottles each containing controlled substances.

Following Yates' release from the Colorado jail on bond, she returned to Sidney and told local law enforcement of her and Richmond's involvement in burglaries conducted in Cheyenne County, according to a probable cause affidavit submitted by a Sidney police officer.

In an interview with police, Yates said she had traveled with Richmond to numerous homes while Richmond burglarized them for prescription pills, money, jewelry and name brand clothing.

"Yates further explained that Richmond needed a lookout and also someone to watch over children that were in the vehicle during the burglaries," the affidavit states.

According to police, Yates had a notebook listing many of the houses burglarized in Cheyenne County, "but only ones that she knew the names of owners or residents."

The 11-page affidavit lists 42 residences that were allegedly burglarized, including what was stolen.

At some homes, nothing was taken, Yates told police. At others, however, the duo returned multiple times.

A home in Sidney was burglarized frequently "because Richmond knew children in the residence were struck by a vehicle and they would have pain medication," Yates told police.

At another address, "Yates advised that Richmond broke into [a law enforcement officer's] residence and was 'freaked out' because it was a police officer's house, but nonetheless took pain meds from the residence," according to the affidavit.

The criteria used to select houses ranged from opportunistic to callous: Some homes were broken into because of information gleaned from social media postings, others because it was known the resident was ill or had died and there'd likely be prescription drugs on hand, according to a review of the affidavit.

In one instance, Yates told police Richmond portrayed herself as a director of home health to gain entry, and while in the residence, stole medication.

A search in June of two Sidney residences linked to Richmond as well as her vehicle led to the discovery and seizure of jewelry, clothing and numerous prescription pill bottles – most empty – with labels removed.

Following the execution of the search warrants, Richmond was arrested on June 11.

 

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