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Charges: Grand Rapids burglary plot became hostage situation
By Tom Olsen Today at 3:24 a.m.
A plot to burglarize a Grand Rapids home turned into a hostage situation before it was foiled by a housesitter, according to charges filed Friday.
Police said Zachary Walter Cary, 28, of Cloquet, and Edward Wade Fauth, 19, of Grand Rapids, attempted to burglarize a residence on the 400 block of Northwest 17th Avenue in Grand Rapids on Wednesday night.
The men, believing the homeowner was out of town, planned to “get some fast money and drugs” from the residence, according to the charges.
But they instead found two women inside, leading to a 30-minute hostage situation that was broken up by the brother of one of the victims, authorities said. A firearm was discharged during a struggle, but no injuries were reported.
Cary and Fauth, who were arrested after allegedly fleeing the scene, were arraigned Friday in State District Court in Grand Rapids on multiple felony charges.
Both are charged with aggravated first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary. Cary also faces a first-degree witness tampering charge.
Judge Heidi Chandler set bail for both men at $100,000 with conditions or $200,000 without.
According to the criminal complaints:
Police received a report of a gunpoint hostage situation at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday. Responding officers found Cary, wearing an orange mask, running in the area. Officers arrested him, recovering two semi-automatic handguns.
Cary told police that his friend, later identified as Fauth, called him earlier to arrange the burglary. He said Fauth told him that the homeowner was out of town and that the residence contained “a lot of cash and drugs.”
Cary said the two men met up in Duluth and drove to Grand Rapids. They drove Fauth’s vehicle to the residence, where Fauth planned to act as the getaway driver.
Cary said he approached the residence, carrying one of his firearms, and met a screaming female near the doorway. He said he told her to remain calm and give him the cash and drugs.
Cary stated that he continued talking with the woman, but did not point the firearm at her. Eventually, a man entered the residence and told him to drop the gun. Cary said they began to scuffle and he emptied the magazine so no one would get shot.
He acknowledged that the gun discharged before he was able to regain control and run from the residence.
The female victim told police that the suspect had held her at gunpoint for approximately 30 minutes before her brother arrived and attempted to disarm him. She and the other woman ran from the house at that time.
The brother told investigators that he was housesitting and that he arrived to find his sister being held at gunpoint. He said he attempted to disarm the suspect and that the firearm went off during the struggle. He said he was able to gain control of the gun, emptying the remaining shells, before giving the unloaded weapon back to the suspect and telling him to leave.
The suspect then grabbed another gun out of his pocket, pointed it at him, and stated, “If you call the police, I will kill you,” the male victim reported.
With Cary in custody, officers were able to contact Fauth by phone at 12:40 a.m. Fauth reported that he was in Duluth and been there all night, but authorities were able to trace the call to an area south of Grand Rapids. He was later arrested by Aitkin County deputies in the Swatara area.
Both men are due back in court on Monday.