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Man blames alleged criminal behavior on crack, police say

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

"I got to have crack, man. I gotta have it," police say a Rochester man told them in confessing to a string of recent break-ins at businesses, including one convenience store hit several times.

Jason Earl Mahle, 28, is charged with five more burglaries. He was in court on three new complaints Tuesday and again Wednesday on two additional complaints. Mahle is now charged with five new counts of third-degree burglary.

Earlier this month, he was charged with other burglaries and bail was set at $70,000 without conditions or $35,000 with conditions. The judge continued that bail to run concurrently on all cases.

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In the complaints filed Tuesday, Mahle is charged with two break-ins at the Conoco Pump-n-Munch, 82 36th Ave. N.W., which occurred on Jan. 25 and Jan. 31. He also was charged in connection with a break-in at JD Coins at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.

After his arrest in connection with two residential burglaries, he told officers of his cocaine habit, claiming it costs him $1,000 to $2,000 a day.

In one of the Pump-n-Munch break-in complaints, he is quoted as telling investigators that he will do whatever it takes to get the crack.

"I got to stop. I have lost a lot here; I have lost my family and my job," he is quoted as telling investigators.

The Pump-n-Munch was actually broken into four times in a period of weeks. Twice the thief tried to remove a safe. He succeeded once.

Mahle admits he took the safe, according to the complaint. Surveillance video at the store shows a person throwing a brick through the front window early on Jan. 31, then climbing through the window into the store. In the video, the burglar goes behind the counter and drags the safe out the front door. Once outside, he hides inside his pickup when a car drives north on 36th Avenue. It appears he puts the safe in the back of the pickup and drives away.

The manager told police the safe contained $1,800 in cash, $504 in checks, cashed lottery tickets and the store’s financial paperwork.

Mahle told police he is the man on the video, the complaint said. He said he cut up the safe, burned the checks and spent the cash. He asked officers to take him for a ride so he could show them where he dumped the safe. He directed officers to an area near a park in the 2800 block of West River Parkway. Mahle said he dumped the safe over the river embankment. Officers found the safe at the edge of the water. Inside were checks and lottery tickets.

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The Pump-n-Munch manager said all the checks and lottery tickets have been recovered and accounted for.

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