by Jim Boyle
The two men involved in the Feb. 13 Elk River home invasion that ended in a crash in Rogers have been charged with burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and assault in Sherburne County 10th District Court.
Aaron Ray Martin, a 40-year-old Golden Valley man, and Ryan Thomas Woehler, a 31-year-old Brooklyn Center man, went to the home looking for money, according to the criminal complaint.
Martin, who is known to law enforcement as “Creeper,” will be on trial in April for his role in stealing more than $7,400 in cash, checks and gift cards given to a bride and groom at a July 20 wedding reception at Majestic Oaks Golf Club in Ham Lake, according to the Anoka County Attorney’s Office.
Elk River Police believe that the residence involved in a home invasion was targeted.
“This does not appear to be a random home invasion and police do not believe there is any danger to the surrounding community,” Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe stated in a press release.
Elk River Police were called at 9:06 a.m. to 18568 Quincy Court Thursday on a report of home invasion. A couple had allegedly been assaulted in their own home and the man was believed kidnapped.
Upon arrival an Elk River detective observed a metal pipe lying on the floor just inside the main entry of the residence and blood splatter on walls and the floor of the entry area. There was also reportedly blood on the walls and floor going downstairs to the lower level, according to the criminal complaint.
Police quickly found the woman with zip tie handcuffs on her wrists. The 27-year-old Elk River woman told police she lives at the home with her husband and five children. Her four oldest got on the bus about 8:55 a.m. that morning and her two-year-old son was home with her and her husband.
The wife and mother said she was in the family’s upstairs bathroom when she began hearing her husband screaming from downstairs to call the police, the complaint said.
She told police she couldn’t call, however, because her phone was downstairs. Shortly thereafter a man entered her bathroom, holding a pipe in one hand and plastic zip tie handcuffs in the other. She said he was wearing a black ski mask and a red jacket.
The man asked repeatedly where the money was, according to the criminal complaint.
The man then tried to zip tie her hands but failed to secure them. He then grabbed the zip ties and pulled her toward the bedroom door. He also took a camera bag from the bedroom and threw it downstairs to the lower level of the home.
She told police she then heard the front door open and close, and the man then let go of her hands, ran down the stair and ran out of the residence. She then locked the door and called 911. She told police she was terrified during the encounter with this man and feared that he would use the pipe on her.
She told Sherburne County dispatcher of an assault on her husband and kidnapping. She initially believed two men had taken her husband but later learned he had ran to a neighbor’s house in the Trott Brook Farms housing development they live in.
When police caught up with him, they discovered a large amount of blood on his face and head that appeared to be coming from large gashes on his head. The man told police he had been struck in the head by both individuals with some sort of metal object. He identified one of the males by the nickname of “Creeper.”
He was given medical treatment at the scene and taken by ambulance to an area hospital. He suffered a fractured scull, a concussion and other injuries, according to the complaint.
The two-year-old boy who was in the home was not hurt.
His mother showed police surveillance video that documented the suspects arrival at the residence in a red Cadillac. It also showed the suspects exiting the vehicle wearing ski masks. One of the men was wearing a red jacket, the court document stated.
It was the male in the red jacket that drove to the home.
High speed chase
After the men fled, Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe directed Sherburne County Dispatch to alert all area agencies of the assault and kidnapping, which ultimately led to a chase.
It was a Rogers police officer that first spotted the suspect vehicle, which turned out to be a 1996 Eldorado Cadillac Coupe, according to a Sherburne County dispatcher.
While following the suspects in an eastbound lane of Interstate 94, the lead officer told dispatch he or she was waiting for more backup before lighting up lights and sirens. But then the suspects, who police believe they realized they were being followed, made a U-Turn and began heading eastbound in the westbound lanes of the interstate. They got off of the interstate and made their way to Hennepin County Road 81.
Believing they were chasing the suspects and a kidnapped man, authorities continued their pursuit until the suspect vehicle crashed at the intersection of County Road 81 and Brockton Lane, according to chatter on the police scanner.
During the chase along County Road 81 authorities indicated to Sherburne County Dispatch the fleeing suspects reached speeds of more than 100 mph.
The suspects tried to flee police from the vehicle but were apprehended about 9:21 a.m. a short distance from the vehicle. The driver was identified as Martin. The passenger was identified as Woehler.
After they were apprehended, a dispatcher relayed that the victim had been located back in Elk River.
The surveillance video showed the assault victim running from the home, and the suspects both follow out the door and leave in their vehicle, according to the complaint. The male in the red jacket was the one that got into the passenger seat.
The men were charged on Feb. 14 with the following:
• Burglary in the first degree while possessing a dangerous weapon
• Burglary in the first degree for assaulting someone in the home or on the property
• Attempted aggravated robbery in the first degree
• Kidnapping with intent to commit great bodily harm or terrorize
• Assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon
All five are felonies, three of which come with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a a $35,000 fine. The aggravated robbery and assault in the second degree come with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and or as fine of $17,500 and $20,000, respectively.