A man claiming he was at his neighbor’s residence returning their cat that had gotten out is facing a felony burglary charge.
Nicholas Lee Ciccarelli, 39, of North Branch Township, was charged before Judge James Dehn on Feb. 14 in Isanti County District Court in Cambridge with felony second-degree burglary of a dwelling. Bail was set at $10,000 without conditions or he was released on his own recognizance with conditions, and his next court appearance for April 19.
The alleged burglary took place on Feb. 12 at a residence located along the 5880 block of Peterson Trail Northeast.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Feb. 12, at approximately 7:17 p.m., Isanti County Deputy Jonathan Vander Vegt met with the homeowners regarding the burglary.
The homeowners reported they left their residence at 10 a.m. that morning. When they returned, they found a Chevrolet Impala parked in their driveway, and recognized their neighbor, Ciccarelli, coming from their house.
Ciccarelli told the homeowners their cat had gotten out and he was trying to put the cat back in the house. Ciccarelli then said he had to go back inside the house and get his bag. He came out a few minutes later and left the property. The homeowners said they are familiar with Ciccarelli as a neighbor, but they don’t really know him.
The homeowners entered their residence and found multiple signs that Ciccarelli had been inside their home for quite some time and had been in multiple areas of the residence.
First, the homeowners pointed out a computer mouse on the seat of an exercise bike in the downstairs area of the home. The homeowners don’t own a computer or a computer mouse. A vacuum hose was also stretched out toward the exercise bike that was not in this location when they left their home. Next, two wet towels on the floor and on a treadmill were identified. Before leaving the home, the towels were dry and were on the exercise bike. The shower and the bathroom floor were also wet.
Upstairs, the homeowners identified some filters that had been moved from the doorway onto a counter top. Additionally, a plate of cut-up hot dogs was identified. The homeowners said the hot dogs had come from the refrigerator and were not cut up or placed on a plate before they left. Inside the refrigerator, the homeowners identified three bottles of pop that had been placed there.
The homeowners showed Vander Vegt a dish where they kept keys. The keys were removed from the dish that was kept in a cabinet and laid out on a counter. The kitchen table had Legos that were being played with that were not on the table when the homeowners left their residence. A large easy chair had been slid over to the table and a hat had been left on the table that the homeowners did not recognize. Lastly, cat food had been added to a dish in the kitchen. The homeowners do not feed their cat at that location.
The homeowners reported Ciccarelli has never been to their residence and he does not have permission to enter their residence.
After photographing the home, Vander Vegt went to Ciccarelli’s home. Upon arrival, Vander Vegt observed a car parked in his driveway that matched the description given by the homeowners who reported the burglary.
Under Miranda, Ciccarelli said he went to the residence because he found a cat outside and he was trying to put it back. He said he cut up a hot dog to feed the cat. He said the cat didn’t want to eat the hot dog, so he found some cat food for the animal. He denied tampering with anything else in the residence. Ciccarelli said the computer mouse belonged to him, but he didn’t have an explanation as to how it ended up on the exercise bike.
On Feb. 13, Isanti County Investigator Rob Bowker spoke with one of the homeowners. The homeowner reported he noticed several more things in his residence after Vander Vegt left. He reported fruit and other items had been eaten from the refrigerator. Additionally, sandwich bread from the cupboard had been eaten. The homeowners also reported Ciccarelli left a 16-pound bag of cat food at the residence, several pieces of furniture had been moved and the thermostat had been adjusted.