Two men are accused of burglarizing a popular Lake Minnetonka chocolate shop and ruining its inventory by spraying three fire extinguishers throughout the store just before the confectioner's crucial Christmas rush.
Alexander Running, 19, of Shorewood, and Karsten Luttschwager, 20, of Minneapolis, each were charged in Hennepin County District Court with third-degree burglary and first-degree property damage after a break-in at Truffle Hill Chocolates on Smithtown Road in Tonka Bay.
Running and Luttschwager posted bail and are due in court at separate hearings later this month. Messages have been left with their attorneys seeking comments on the allegations.
According to the charges and other court documents:
On the morning of Nov. 30, police were notified of a burglary at the shop after employees found a broken window and evidence that a fire extinguisher had been used. A computer and cash were missing.
The entire first floor was covered in dust from what turned out to be three fire extinguishers, "and the owner stated that all of the chocolates would have to be thrown away," the charges read.
The estimated cost of the vandalism and thefts totaled nearly $25,000.
On Dec. 14, Running and Luttschwager were arrested while in a vehicle stolen from a plumbing business. The two were charged with auto theft, and Luttschwager allegedly admitted that he and Running used landscape rocks to try to break into Greenwood market.
According to court documents:
Running at first denied, then admitted, to being involved in the chocolate shop burglary. He said the two of them broke a window, climbed into the store and ate some of the chocolates. They left, but Luttschwager returned and ransacked the shop "so police wouldn't be able to find their DNA."
Luttschwager turned himself in Dec. 29 and explained that the two of them "were bored and decided to break into [the shop]," the charges read.
For more than a quarter-century, Truffle Hill has produced small-batch, handmade chocolate truffles, turtles, caramels and other specialty treats.
Courts records show that Luttschwager's criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for receiving stolen property, trespassing on school property and drug possession. Records show no convictions for Running.