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Charge: Minn. group home employee, vulnerable resident delivered newspapers, stole from garages, vehicles

WILLMAR, Minn. — A former employee of a licensed community residential facility in Willmar and a vulnerable adult who lived there have been charged with 14 burglary- and theft-related charges for allegedly taking property from garages and vehicles while delivering newspapers.

Both individuals made court appearance this week.

The incident was also investigated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which concluded that neglect occurred when the employee — identified in court documents as Sebastian Nickolas Roush, 18, of Willmar — failed to provide care to a vulnerable adult.

Roush and the resident, Matthew Lee Johnson, 32, of Atwater, are both charged with 10 felonies for burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.

They also face a gross misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property and three misdemeanor charges of tampering with a motor vehicle.

According to the criminal complaints filed against the men, property valued at $3,700 was taken from at least nine different locations from a period between April 22 and June 6.

A majority of the targeted homes were in southwest Willmar.

The items that were taken include power tools, cell phones, home stereo equipment, computers, clothing and automotive items.

According to the complaint, Johnson said Roush would accompany him on an early-morning paper route and they would look into garages and vehicles for things to steal. After some of the items were found in Johnson's group home room, the two broke into an office, took the items, drove to Spicer and dumped them off a dock in Green Lake.

In a report filed July 27, the Department of Human Services determined Roush was responsible for recurring maltreatment and is disqualified from a job where he would have contact with people receiving services at a number of state licensed facilities. That action is subject to appeal, according to the report.

The report also said the facility had adequate procedures in place but they were not followed. The facility identified a need to retrain staff on the reporting of Maltreatment of the Vulnerable Adults Act.

Roush's next court appearance is Aug. 28. Johnson's next court appearance is Oct. 2.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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