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Former Safari North employee accused of stealing from business

A 21-year-old Brainerd man is accused of breaking into Safari North and stealing $15,000. Cody Andrew Nelson, 21, was charged June 2 in Crow Wing County District Court with felony first-degree burglary. Judge Kristine DeMay posted unconditional b...

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Cody Andrew Nelson

A 21-year-old Brainerd man is accused of breaking into Safari North and stealing $15,000.

Cody Andrew Nelson, 21, was charged June 2 in Crow Wing County District Court with felony first-degree burglary. Judge Kristine DeMay posted unconditional bond of $50,000 and $20,000 bond with conditions. His next court hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 28.

According to the probable cause court document filed against Nelson:

โ€ข The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office was called at 11:02 a.m. May 30 to a burglary at Safari North, off Highway 371, south of Brainerd. The owner stated someone had taken a safe from the business that contained $15,000 in cash and checks, and entry was made through an unlocked door.

The owner believed whoever took his safe was either a former employee or had inside information where the safe was kept, the complaint stated. The suspect did not go through anything else located in the business.

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โ€ข Later in the day, the owner stated he went to Nelson's residence, one of his former employees, and saw he had a digital keypad in his hand that looked like the keypad that was on the safe. A deputy met with Nelson's father who stated he went out to his garage and found a digital face plate and a large pile of white powder on his garage floor that was not there before. The father stated he did give the digital face plate to the Safari North owner, who did not tell him the safe was missing.

โ€ข The deputy observed the large pile of white powder near the rear of the garage, a corded power grinder with white powder on the blade and a pair of gloves with white powder on the finger tips. The deputy also found black broken plastic, some smaller pieces of metal and a large hammer with white powder smashed onto the hammering surface.

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โ€ข Another deputy made contact with two subjects who stated Nelson asked them to participate in the burglary at "the zoo." One of the subjects stated he initially was going to participate in the burglary, but later changed his mind and did not. The other individual maintained he too was not involved, other than text messages with Nelson. They came to the law enforcement center voluntarily on May 30, providing written consent to search their cellular devices. They indicated Nelson asked them to assist with the burglary via text message on their devices.

โ€ข Investigators found pertinent text messages from Nelson about the burglary, which included information on the business' surveillance system and about his strategy to steal the money. In subsequent messages between Nelson and the subject, the subject asked Nelson how much he got and Nelson's reply was "a lot," the complaint stated.

โ€ข Nelson was located at his work and asked if he was being arrested. He was confronted about the large amounts of cash located in his vehicle following a search warrant. It was also learned he paid $1,600 in cash to purchase a vehicle following the burglary. Of the amount taken, $529 of it was in was $1 bills. Nelson claimed the cash was loaned to him by his grandmother and another subject.

Cody Andrew Nelson
Cody Andrew Nelson

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