Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Two charged with burglary


Brittany Marie Podulke, 21, and Melissa Madelyne Zielinski, 40, both of the same address in Sandstone, were placed under arrest and charged with burglary and theft (aiding and abetting) for theft at residences near Mercy Hospital and the Mercy Hospital construction site.

The complaints state that “On Sept. 25, Moose Lake police officers began an investigation into a series of burglaries in the Woodland Avenue area near Mercy Hospital.

“On Sept. 25, Boldt Construction reported the theft of welding leads as well as tools and equipment for a construction site near the hospital. Additionally, a resident of Woodland Avenue reported a detached garage was burglarized with two sets of golf clubs and an electric scooter taken from the area.”

Surveillance video from Mercy Hospital showed Zielinski coming from a black Audi and entering the emergency room with a male wearing a black and red zippered sweatshirt. Zielinski later left the hospital in a wheelchair pushed by Podulke.

The officers were again called to Woodland Avenue when a dark-colored suspicious four-door sedan was seen driving slowly through the neighborhood six times within an hour.

When questioned after the car pulled into the hospital, Zielinski explained that she was confused about how to get to the hospital because she was from out of the area. She had been limping as she left her vehicle. Surveillance videos again shows Zielinski walking toward her vehicle, and then walking back to the hospital with an unidentified man in a black and red zippered sweatshirt, who appears to be the same man in the video from September 25. The two later leave the hospital.

A half hour later, a witness reported observing two men loading a spool of wire into a brown truck with a topper. The witness followed the vehicle, and a black Audi got between the two vehicles. He continued to follow them to Sturgeon Lake.

The truck and the Audi pulled into a dead end street, performed a U-turn, and drove at the witness. He lost the vehicle but identified the license plate number on the Audi, which had Texas plates.

When the witness was speaking with a responding officer, a 911 call came about a vehicle accident on Market Street in Sturgeon Lake. The reporting witness saw the brown truck with a black topper rolled over on its roof, and a man from the truck entered the black car and then it sped off.

At the scene of the accident, the officers found a prescription bottle belonging to Zielinski, a red and black zippered sweatshirt, a conduit breaker and a number of tools with “Hunt” engraved on them.

A short time later, an individual identified as Dennis Zielinski reported the truck as a stolen vehicle.

Later, a representative of Hunt Electrical, a contractor working on the Mercy Hospital expansion, called to report a burglary. Their shipping containers had been forced open. Cordless tools and spools of wire had been taken from the scene.

The officers then went to defendant Zielinski’s residence in Sandstone. At the residence, the officers located the scooter taken from the September 25 garage burglary. Officers also spoke with Podulke, who was in the residence. The state finds that this property is valued in excess of $1,000.

Later, a Pine County investigator reviewed the surveillance footage from September 25 and identified the woman with Zielinski as Podulke. When the officers went back to the home to interview Podulke and ultimately placed her under arrest, she asked to put on a jacket. She grabbed the same jacket that she was wearing in the video footage.

Podulke was charged with Burglary in the Third Degree (Aid and Abet), which carries a maximum sentence of five years or a $10,000 fine for acting in concert with Zielinski, for entering a building on September 25, and committing the crime of theft while in the building.

On a second complaint, Podulke was charged with Misdemeanor Theft (Aid and Abet), which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days and/or a $1,000 fine for acting in concert with another for taking, transferring, concealing or retaining possession of movable property of Mercy Hospital, Boldt Construction and Hunt Electrical of miscellaneous construction tools and wiring.

Melissa Zielinski was charged with Burglary in the Third Degree (Aid and Abet), which carries a maximum sentence of five years and/or a $10,000 fine for acting in concert with another and entering the shipping containers on or about October 6 without the consent of owner Hunt Electrical with the intent to commit a crime while in the shipping containers.

Zielinski was also charged with Theft (Aid and Abet), which carries a maximum sentence of five years and/or a $10,000 fine for acting in concert with another to take, use, transfer, conceal or retain possession of tools and wire spools of Hunt Electrical.

She was also charged with Burglary in the Third Degree (Aid and Abet), which carries a maximum sentence of five years and/or a $10,000 fine, while acting in concert with another to enter a building on September 25 and commit a theft while in the building.


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