Minnesota Sen. Nicole Mitchell Charged With Burglary

Minnesota State Senator Nicole Mitchell was arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary after being found inside a home in Detroit Lakes. Credit - Video Elephant/Reuters

Minnesota state senator Nicole Mitchell was charged with first-degree burglary Tuesday morning, one day after being arrested at a home in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

The Democratic lawmaker, 49, is being charged after the victim, identified as Mitchell’s stepmother in a complaint filed in court, called the police about an active burglary at her home. Officers then arrested Mitchell on the scene, amid an alleged dispute between the two women over possessions allegedly belonging to Mitchell and her late father.

"I know I did something bad,” Mitchell said after an officer read her Miranda rights, according to the complaint.

A restraining order was issued against Mitchell on Tuesday. A judge gave permission for Mitchell’s release as long as she agreed to not contact her stepmother and not leave the state without court approval, according to MPR News.

Mitchell posted a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, saying that a family member was dealing with Alzheimer’s and related paranoia. “Over the weekend, I learned of medical information which caused me grave concern and prompted me to check on that family member. I entered a home I have come and gone from countless times in the past 20 years, where my son even once had his own room,” Mitchell wrote. “Unfortunately, I startled this close relative, exacerbating paranoia, and I was accused of stealing, which I absolutely deny.”

Mitchell is set to return to court on June 10. Mitchell hasn’t publicly commented on the incident. Her government office did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The incident occurred early Monday morning. At around 4:45 a.m. local time, Detroit Lakes Police received a call about someone breaking into a home. The victim said that the suspect ran into the basement. Officers found Mitchell in the home wearing all black clothes and a black hat, and a flashlight with a black sock covering nearby.

While being arrested, Mitchell told the victim something like, “I was just trying to get a couple of my dad's things because you wouldn't talk to me anymore,” the complaint filed in district court alleges. Police looked in Mitchell’s backpack and found two laptops, a cell phone, Mitchell’s personal identification documents, and tupperware. Mitchell told officers that her father had just passed away, and her stepmother had “ceased all contact” with family.

Mitchell told officers she wanted a few items back, listing “pictures, a flannel shirt, ashes, and other items of sentimental value,” according to the complaint. “Clearly I'm not good at this,” Mitchell allegedly told police.

Mitchell told officers that she had entered the home through the window on the south wall of the basement, according to the complaint. She also claimed that one of the laptops in her bag was given to her by her stepmother, which her stepmother denies. 

Mitchell represents Minnesota’s senate district 47. Prior to her work in the legislative chamber, she was a meteorologist and an Air National Guard commander, according to her state office biography.

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