Minnesota state senator charged with burglary of stepmother's home

Democratic Minnesota state Sen. Nicole Mitchell was charged with first-degree burglary after allegedly breaking in to her former stepmother's home. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Senate

April 23 (UPI) -- A first-term Minnesota state senator on Tuesday was charged with first-degree burglary after allegedly breaking in to her former stepmother's house in Detroit Lakes.

State Sen. Nicole Mitchell, a 49-year-old Democrat from Woodbury, was arrested early Monday morning after police officers responded to the call before 5 a.m. local time.

They arrested Mitchell at the scene of the alleged burglary, according to the criminal complaint.

Mitchell -- a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard -- was found by police in the basement of her former stepmother Carol Mitchell's Becker County home "dressed in all black clothing and a black hat," according to court documents.

Mitchell told her stepmother she had been attempting to "get a couple of my dad's things because you wouldn't talk to me anymore," court documents said. Her father, Roderick Mitchell, died at age 72 in March 2023.

Mitchell and her former stepmother were the only two heirs to Roderick Mitchell's estate worth $172,931.

Authorities found a flashlight with a black sock over it and a sliding window going into the basement was open with a black backpack on it.

"Officers searched the backpack and discovered two laptops, a cell phone, Mitchell's Minnesota driver's license, Mitchell's Senate identification, and miscellaneous Tupperware," the court document states.

The first-term state senator told police the laptops were hers, telling them she had "just gotten into the house."

"Clearly I'm not good at this," she allegedly said.

Mitchell said she knew she "did something bad" as she was read her Miranda rights.

She had left Woodbury at around 1 a.m. that night to get to Detroit Lakes. The Democrat-Farmer-Labor state senator said she was only going to get her late father's personal belongs such as pictures and ashes which she claimed Carol Mitchell had refused to give her.

Elected to the state senate in 2022, Mitchell is a former television personality and has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused or neglected kids. Mitchell received a law degree in 2010 from Georgia State University College of Law.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a fellow Democrat, has yet to weigh in on the issue. Mitchell's arrest came the same day Walz had appointed two women to the state's supreme court in Minnesota's now all-female high court.

But the state's Republican Party chairman on Tuesday afternoon had called for Mitchell to step down.

"The criminal charges against Senator Nicole Mitchell are severe and warrant her immediate resignation from the Minnesota Senate," state GOP Chairman David Hann said in a statement.

Mitchell's situation puts Minnesota senate Democrats in a difficult position with a one-seat majority in the state's upper legislative chamber, which they narrowly control.