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Clues On Video Lead To Arrests In Minnetonka Burglary

Minnetonka Police collaborated with Orono and Plymouth police to identify the men involved.

Three men in their 20s are accused of first-degree burglary of an underground garage at a Minnetonka apartment complex.

Rudolph Valentino Avent, 29 of Bloomington, was charged in Hennepin County Court for one count of felony burglary in the first degree and a second count of felony aggravated robbery in the second degree. Dion Lovell Sledge, 24 of Minneapolis, and Sherrick Machon Catchings, 22 of Minneapolis, have active warrants in Hennepin County on the same charges as Avent.

On Oct. 17, were called to an apartment complex on a report of an aggravated robbery. When they arrived, police met with a woman who said she observed two adult men who appeared to be breaking into vehicles inside an underground garage. She told police one of the men confronted her, demanded her money and had his hand in the pocket of his jacket as if he was holding a gun.

She said she handed over her purse, which contained her wallet, her debit card and her cell phone, and then she left the garage. She found the apartment manager and, together, they called 911. Video surveillance from the apartment complex at the time of the robbery shows three men in the garage appearing to break into.

The woman's debit card was used about 30 minutes later at a gas station.

Several weeks later, police learned that someone had pawned a Garmin GPS stolen from a vehicle in the garage. Officers spoke to the person who pawned the item, who told officers she got the item from her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend, in turn, told police he bought the item off Craigslist from Catchings—one of the men accused of the burglaries. Police learned that Catchings was arrested with Avent in 2010 for a residential burglary in Bloomington. Officers obtained a photo of Avent and determined he was one of the men in the apartment complex surveillance video and also the man who used the stolen debit card in the gas station surveillance video.

Minnetonka Police discovered that Plymouth and Orono police were also investigating burglaries involving suspects matching the descriptions of Avent, Catchings and the third man in the video.

The investigators met and watched the various videos and compared notes. In doing so, the name Dion Sledge was developed as a known associate of Avent and Catchings. After comparing photos of Catchings and Sledge to the surveillance video from the Minnetonka robbery and the other burglaries, police determined they were the other two men involved in the robbery at the apartment complex.

Avent was arrested on Dec. 12 in Minnetonka at . Avent’s bail was set at $60,000.

If convicted, each man faces between six months and 20 years and/or a $35,000 fine for the first count and up to 15 years and/or $30,000 for the second count.

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