Northfield neighborhood uneasy after recent crimes, death of three dogs in 2013 - Northfield MN: News

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Northfield neighborhood uneasy after recent crimes, death of three dogs in 2013

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Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014 2:27 pm | Updated: 11:22 pm, Tue Jun 10, 2014.

Residents who live in Matt Jensen’s neighborhood say they are living with fear and unease.

“It’s absolutely awful. I never thought I’d have to experience this,” said Michael Garlitz, Jensen’s next-door neighbor.

Jensen, 32, is accused of killing three Northfield pets while breaking into two houses last May and was arrested again June 3 on two counts of burglary allegedly committed over the weekend in the 600 block of Washington Street.

According to the latest Rice County criminal complaint, Jensen broke into the upstairs bedroom of the house where he lives sometime May 31 and stole $20 from the victim’s wallet. The next day, Northfield police officers were called to the residence by the victim, who said he had caught Jensen trying to climb a ladder and break into his window.

The police issued a complaint warrant and Jensen was arrested June 2. He posted bail and was released from the Rice County Jail on June 3.

Garlitz said that he has three children and doesn’t feel safe letting them play outside by themselves. His family has lived in Northfield for 16 years, he said, but now he wishes they could move away. To feel safer, the family has installed motion detectors and a stronger security system, and they always lock every door and window.

“The neighbors are scared, and we’re scared,” he said.

Erin Carson’s dog Winter was one of the three killed in last year’s burglaries, and she said she just received her dog’s remains.

“The whole neighborhood is scared [and] there’s nothing we can do,” she said. “We feel very violated. It’s a feeling of helplessness, [and] it’s just never ending.”

Like the Garlitz family, the Carsons have installed extra locks and won’t let their children play alone outside.

“We’re not a paranoid people,” she said. “Well, not until now.”

Amanda Murphy is another resident who lost two dogs in last year’s burglaries. Murphy said even though her family lives three blocks away from Jensen, it’s still unsettling to know that he is out on bail.

“I will never feel safe in my home again,” she said. “It’s really hard to know that [Jensen] keeps on getting all the breaks, and we don’t seem to get any.”

She added that she would be happy to see Jensen turn his life around, but she doesn’t think he wants to.

“It just seems like we keep hearing stories that he’s been arrested again,” she said. “It frightens me that he’s loose [and] scares me to think what he could do next.”

But not everyone in the neighborhood is frightened. Mark Detlie, who lives a few houses away from Jensen, said he doesn’t want to judge Jensen before the trial.

“He has rights,” Detlie said. “I don’t feel unsafe because he’s a couple doors down from me. I’m hoping he gets the help he needs.”

Jensen’s landlord, who is also his girlfriend, said she is not considering evicting Jensen at this time. As for Jensen, he wants his day in court.

“The people of this town view me as completely guilty,” he said, adding that he was judged long before his court date. “It’s going to be really hard for me to get a fair trial in this county because everybody knows who I am and it’s been printed all over the newspaper.”

Jensen has been out on bail since September for charges dating back to last May regarding his alleged involvement in three break-ins and the death of three dogs. For that, he is facing eight felony charges: first-degree burglary, four counts of second-degree burglary and three counts of mistreatment of animals for his alleged involvement in three break-ins in the neighborhoods of College, Washington and East Sixth streets in early May. He was also charged with fifth-degree drug possession, a felony, and a gross misdemeanor count of mistreatment of animals.

He said the town’s negative opinion of him has kept him confined to his home, and he added that he recently attempted to kill himself because of the stress of the situation. He will also begin a six-month treatment for his drug problem next week, he said.

“I’m not a danger to anybody,” Jensen said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals. I haven’t gotten in trouble for a year.”

The trial regarding last year’s burglaries is set for August.

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  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • mharmon0328 posted at 11:14 am on Mon, Jun 16, 2014.

    mharmon0328 Posts: 4

    I'm not sure why my previous posts were taken down. I do know that my family was directly affected by the actions of Matt Jensen. This person deserves everything that he is put through and deserves the highest punishment possible. There used to be a time where the neighborhood never had to worry about leaving a front door open. Or about anything being outside. Now people have to worry about who is snooping on thier porches!? There was a minor child home when he beat one of the dogs. My family's dog. There are too many 'what if's' to try to even wrap a head around. Either way, Matt deserves what is coming to him. He is a danger to society.

  • Blue Jay posted at 12:28 pm on Thu, Jun 12, 2014.

    Blue Jay Posts: 19

    I don't think most people interested in this story know that Jensen is permitted to own a house cat despite being charged with animal cruelty crimes. This fact can be verified in court documents. Also, during Jensen's bail hearing last week, the Rice County Attorney's Office requested that Jensen not be permitted to possess firearms as part of his bail conditions because Jensen is allegedly killing squirrels in his backyard. This request was denied by the judge. This information, too, can be verified in court records.

  • Ofsilence posted at 8:16 am on Wed, Jun 11, 2014.

    Ofsilence Posts: 763


    Though I would have to say in reference to the individual in this article - this is definitely more a case of right and wrong than being part of the "good ole boy's" club. You dont have a rap sheet that long by being singled out by locals no matter how much you would like to convince yourself otherwise. Im sure this kid was claiming the "this town hates me" card in Olmsted County when he was charged with some serious crimes.

    In this case - the problem is solely the individual and those who live around him are completely justified in wanting to see him put away for a very long time.

  • be-aware posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Jun 11, 2014.

    be-aware Posts: 4

    Townies are those born, raised, or have lived here to bear and raise children/family. Also, Townies are those who have businessess and are a memeber of the community's financial set. Typically Townies tend to have a bit more clout with other Townies.

    Townies are often considered a clique (a LARGE one) by those who have just relocated here or have moved into the town area from localities nearby. this is not a judgement, nor a slur.

    Simply put, it means that I have not arrived at my feelings because I've been socialized by any one set of agreed upon standards, Northfield's or otherwise.

  • ubetcha posted at 10:51 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    ubetcha Posts: 309

    Not being funny- no dog is safe! If that could be done to a pet what on God's green Earth would he do to a person? This is surely a man that should scare all of Northfield!

  • Captainobvious posted at 10:00 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Captainobvious Posts: 4

    Northfield New posted a story on houses on Mayflower Hill being broken into. It has to be unrelated because Jensen hasn't broken the law for a whole week and a half.

  • Blue Jay posted at 5:40 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Blue Jay Posts: 19

    Can someone at the News please post this story on Facebook?

  • Ofsilence posted at 3:15 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Ofsilence Posts: 763

    What is a "Townie" quality?

  • Ofsilence posted at 3:13 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Ofsilence Posts: 763

    “The people of this town view me as completely guilty,” says Jensen.

    Jesus, looking at this guys criminal record - what would you expect? This guy has ran the gauntlet with breaking the law over and over and over and over and over and over and over........

  • 1voice posted at 2:46 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    1voice Posts: 16

    I do not know him personally, but I have lived in town long enough to know people who do. I remember last year's scare of some unknown person breaking into houses and killing dogs all too well. I was terrified to be home alone. Once an arrest was made and it was made public that it was Jensen, I can tell you that nobody that knows him was surprised. So for him to say, "Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals." is complete garbage. His fear for having a trial in Rice County is just. Not because he was judged after the incident, but because people have known him for years before.

  • be-aware posted at 1:20 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    be-aware Posts: 4

    Here is where to send notices of Jensen violating terms of his Olmsted County Probation order - which is in effect until 2015:

    151 4th Street SE
    4th Floor
    Rochester, MN 55904

    Phone: 507 328-7200
    Fax: 507 328-7951

    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Monday - Friday


    Status: Active 05/13/2010
    Monitoring - Adult:
    Type: Supervised probation
    Agency: Dodge Fillmore Olmsted Community Corrections
    Term of 5 Yr
    05/13/2010 - 05/13/2015
    Comment: On a level deemed appropriate
    Status: Active 05/13/2010

    Condition - Adult:
    1. Follow all instructions of probation, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    2. Contact with probation, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    3. Sign Probation Agreement, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    4. Sign all releases of information, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    5. Submit to Initial/Base UA, Shall report to the 4th floor today 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    6. Keep court/attorney informed of current address, Includes places of employment and telephone information 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    7. Pay restitution, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    8. Restitution reserved, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    9. No mood-altering chemicals, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    10. Random testing, by law enforcement;probation officer 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    11. Submit to Random Searches, includes of person, place and vehicle 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    12. No Contact with Persons Associated with Illegal Drugs, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    13. Do Not Enter Bars or Liquor Stores, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    14. Cognitive skill training, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    15. Chemical dependency evaluation/treatment, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    16. Maintain employment, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    17. Remain law-abiding, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010
    18. Supply DNA sample, 05/13/2010, Active 05/13/2010

  • Blue Jay posted at 12:56 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Blue Jay Posts: 19

    I'm curious why Jensen's "landlord" and girlfriend is not named in this story, even though she is quoted. Her name is public and can be accessed through Rice County's online property tax site. Her identity also is common knowledge. I think it speaks volumes that the victims, neighbors and Jensen use their names, but she doesn't. What is she afraid of?

  • be-aware posted at 12:45 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    be-aware Posts: 4

    Citation Number Defendant Info Filed/Location/Judicial Officer Type/Status Charge(s)
    25-VB-09-531 S137108 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 02/04/09 Crim/Traf Non-Mand Traffic - Careless Driving
    S137108 11/16/82 Goodhue Dormant Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation
    66-T6-01-003515 NPD 124653 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 05/04/01 Moving - Misdemeanor UNDERAGE CONSUME & DRIVE
    NPD 124653 11/16/82 Rice Converted Closed NO PROOF OF INSURANCE
    NPD 124653 EXPIRED D.L.
    66-T1-01-003633 NPD 123256 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 05/10/01 Moving - Misdemeanor ERRATICE DRIVING
    NPD 123256 11/16/82 Rice Converted Closed NO PROOF OF INSURANCE
    NPD 123255 SPEED 52/30
    NPD 123255 EXPIRED D.L.
    66-T5-01-005465 NPD 124411 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 07/11/01 Non- Traffic Misdemeanor POSSESS DRUG PARAPHENALIA
    NPD 124411 11/16/82 Rice Converted Closed POSSESS SM AMT MARIJUANIA
    66-TX-01-008412 NPD 126739 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 10/30/01 Non- Traffic Misdemeanor NO PROOF OF INSURANCE
    NPD 126739 11/16/82 Rice Converted Closed EXPIRED REGISTRATION
    66-T2-02-004123 NPD 130943 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 06/07/02 Moving - Misdemeanor DAR - PETTY
    NPD 130943 11/16/82 Rice Converted Closed ERRATIC DRIVING
    66-T8-02-005731 NPD 130860 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 08/12/02 Moving - Misdemeanor NO INSURANCE
    NPD 130860 11/16/82 Rice Converted Closed DRIVING AFTER REVOCATION
    66-K3-02-001991 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 12/02/02 Felony Drugs - 5th Degree - Possess Schedule 1,2,3,4 - Not Small Amount Marijuana Not applicable - GOC
    11/16/82 Rice Closed
    66-K9-05-000200 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 01/31/05 Serious Felony Criminal Vehicular Injury - Substantial Bodily Harm - Gross Negligence Not applicable - GOC
    11/16/82 Rice Dormant Criminal Vehicular Injury - Substantial Bodily Harm - Under Influence Alcohol Not applicable - GOC
    Criminal Vehicular Injury - Substantial Bodily Harm - Alcohol Concentration 0.10 or More Not applicable - GOC
    Criminal Vehicular Injury - Substantial Bodily Harm - Alcohol 0.10 or More within 2 Hours of Driving Not applicable - GOC
    Crim Vehic Operat-Bodily Harm-Gross Negl Not applicable - GOC
    Crim Vehic Operat-Bodily Harm-Und Infl Alc Not applicable - GOC
    Crim Vehic Operat-Bodily Harm-Alc Conc 0.10 or more Not applicable - GOC
    Crim Vehic Operat-Bodily Harm-Alc Conc 0.10 or more w/in 2 h Not applicable - GOC
    Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation Not applicable - GOC
    66-K9-06-000059 NPD 159970 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 01/06/06 Gross Misd - DWI Traffic - DWI - Operate Motor Vehicle Under Influence of Alcohol Not applicable - GOC
    NPD 159970 11/16/82 Rice Dormant Traffic - DWI - Operate Motor Vehicle - Alcohol Concentration 0.08 Within 2 Hours Not applicable - GOC
    NPD 159970 Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation Not applicable - GOC
    NPD 159970 Traffic - Speeding - Exceed Limit of 30 mph - Urban District Not applicable - GOC
    19-T6-07-050874 FC07050874 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 01/05/07 Domestic Assault - TRF Disorderly Conduct
    11/16/82 - Dakota-Apple Valley Under Court Jurisdiction
    19-K1-07-001324 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 04/17/07 Felony THEFT (UUMV) Not applicable - GOC
    11/16/82 Dakota-Hastings - Criminal/Traffic/Petty Closed RECEIVE STOLEN PROP Not applicable - GOC
    TAMPER W/MV Not applicable - GOC
    66-CR-07-2312 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 06/28/07 Crim/Traf Mandatory Check Forgery-Offer/Possess W/Intent to Defraud
    11/16/82 Rice Under Court Jurisdiction
    50-VB-08-2455 CT 001321 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 09/23/08 Crim/Traf Non-Mand Traffic - Speeding - Exceed Limit 55 mph Where Appropriate 64/55
    01/05/82 Mower Closed
    55-CR-08-9824 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 10/08/08 Crim/Traf Mandatory Receiving Stolen Property Not applicable - GOC
    11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction
    55-CR-08-9789 210727 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 10/14/08 Crim/Traf Mandatory Theft-Take/Use/Transfer Movable Prop-No Consent
    11/16/82 Olmsted Closed
    74-VB-09-4073 SC09200632 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 12/23/09 Crim/Traf Non-Mand SPEED-FASTER THAN 65 MPH - NON-INTERSTATE FREEWAYS/EXPRESSWAYS(169-14-2-A-2) 67/55
    01/05/82 Steele Closed
    55-CR-10-3633 P223161 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 05/17/10 Crim/Traf Mandatory Traffic - Careless Driving
    P223161 11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction Traffic Accidents - Driver Involved Fails to Stop for Accident to Property - No injury
    P223161 Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation
    P223161 Traffic Regulation - Driver Must Carry Proof of Insurance when Operating Vehicle
    55-CR-10-4916 P223548 Jensen, Matthew David 07/02/10 Crim/Traf Mandatory Damage to Property-4th Deg-Intentional Damage-Other Circumstances
    P223548 11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction Indecent Conduct
    55-CR-10-4929 p223767 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 07/02/10 Crim/Traf Mandatory Damage to Property-4th Deg-Intentional Damage-Other Circumstances
    p223767 11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction Disorderly Conduct-Offensive/Abusive/Noisy/Obscene
    55-CR-10-7539 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 10/11/10 Crim/Traf Mandatory Burglary-3rd Deg-Steal/Commit Felony or Gross Misd
    11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction
    55-VB-10-9831 P224023 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 10/12/10 Crim/Traf Non-Mand Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation
    P224023 11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction Traffic - Duty to Drive with Due Care - Speed Greater than Reasonable
    55-VB-10-10056 vo06164 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 10/19/10 Crim/Traf Non-Mand Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation
    11/16/82 Olmsted Under Court Jurisdiction
    74-VB-14-1046 7.40115E+11 JENSEN, MATTHEW DAVID 04/15/14 Crim/Traf Non-Mand REG-EXPIRED REGISTRATION / EXPIRED TABS(169-79-1)
    01/05/82 Steele Closed

  • be-aware posted at 12:42 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    be-aware Posts: 4

    This news is so unhappy. On the one hand you want all people to be healthy and productive citezens who contribute to the well-being of those around them. On the other is reality. For Jensen, reality is that he has a record of violating laws and statutes going back as far as 2001, when he was 19.

    I pulled court records form and counted all the cases he's accumulated. There are 24 cases - each with multiple complaints attached. These cases (and the charges attached) exibit a progression in irreverence for laws and structured living, also an escallation in severity of irreverence.

    With such a lengthy history, it is easy to see why Jensen feels that a year without "trouble" seems like a good stretch. The reality, for most people, is that a year without trouble simply is not long enough.

    On the one hand we have someone with personal issues to work on. On the other, we have someone who has taken 13 years to come to the realization that now might be the time to start working on those issues. This is hard for anybody to understand, let alone forgive.

    Such big "IF's" ride on the shoulders of both the county courts and Jensen himself that knowing what to do about these latest charges is terribly confounding. The only concrete thing is that Jensen's inaction toward his own well-being and health has affected those around him.

    I encourage this community to stay vigilant, stay quietly vigilant. If you see him breaking his release commitments report it to the authorities. If the bar he goes to continues to serve him, don't spend your money there. Write letters to the Rice County Criminal Court. Tell the Court your fears, document the expenses you've laid out to feel less threatened by the events that have occured. Send your heartfelt plea to the Court for justice. The court will read them.

    24 cases in 13 years is a decent amount of regular trouble, and if the past is ANY indication of the future, we can expect at least another instance of disregard toward the public welfare before the end of 2014.

    Understand, Jensen, if you are reading this, that none of my assertions come from my opinion of you or any sort of "Townie" quality that Northfield imparts upon residents. You see, I don't know you, I've never seen you, I am not from here and I have no vested interest in spending tax dollars on helping you learn to decide to think about other people before you do things.

    My assertions come from reading your record. You created your record. You are telling me what to think of you with your actions. You are telling me what you feel about the value of life. You are telling me what you think about sobriety laws and driving under the influence. You are telling me what you think about personal boundaries and respect for others.

    I have not made any decisions about you that are not based on the past's factual record. I can however make new decisions, and boy would I like to. The thing is - I have nothing else to go on. You have to decide.

    I won't speak much about the allegations you refute regarding the dogs - except to say that whomsoever is capable and willing to steal the right to love from another human being hasn't fully grasped the concept themself. For that person, I feel sad. On the other hand, for that person I feel contempt as well. None of us will forget, and none of us are going to let up. The crime was, without equivocation, unforgettable.

    I bid you luck in defense. I wish the hearts of Northfield peace, and above all - I wish upon the courts level justice and stern eyes on the collateral effects of what will be brought to bear. Courts of Rice County: that is Northfield's Prayer.

  • Ofsilence posted at 7:52 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Ofsilence Posts: 763

    So are we supposed to give a standing round of applause because this kid didnt break the law for a whole year? Jesus, most of us havent broke the law once in our entire lives yet this kid makes it seem like he should be given a medal. Plus, he was just arrested for BURGLARY ONCE AGAIN very recently!

    He does know how to play the victim card very well though which will get him quite a bit of support in this city.

  • Ofsilence posted at 7:50 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Ofsilence Posts: 763

    He loves animals but killed three dogs. Huh? This guy is hoping that there's enough stupid people out there to think that he is the victim when he is in fact the criminal.

  • onlymyopinion posted at 7:37 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    onlymyopinion Posts: 19

    Why is this guy going to get help for his drug problem now? He should of done it a year ago. I guess he figures if he is in treatment he will get a lighter sentence, which he probably will. Our court systems are so screwed up, they let repeat offenders out on the street all the time. Next time it may not be a dog that he kills but a human.

  • IraqiFreedom posted at 6:53 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    IraqiFreedom Posts: 44

    “I’m not a danger to anybody,” Jensen said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals. I haven’t gotten in trouble for a year.” I'd say otherwise. Here's an Idea Jensen, STOP BREAKING THE LAW AND KILLING DOGS!!!!!

    8 felonies, plus drug charges, and killing dogs.... Hmmm, I'd say you are completely guilty! plus you are sadistic. and being at a bar isn't being "confined' to your home... And the "attempt" of sucide? not only are you a danger to neighborhoods, and pets, but to yourself. spare us.. I love how that's just casually thrown in there for sympathy. I hope Rice County actually does their job this time and actually puts him in jail, instead of their usual letting him off easy. because he will do this all again.

  • Captainobvious posted at 11:22 pm on Mon, Jun 9, 2014.

    Captainobvious Posts: 4

    Let's point out some facts that were left out of this reporters story. 1. The "landlord" has a "relationship" with him, so who would evict their boyfriend? 2. Take a wild guess who bails him out, yup the "landlord". 3. He has been at the bar every Wednesday so he is not trapped in a house being a victim, which violates his bail. Now anyone with a computer could look at his past criminal history and know that prior to his last run in he had 6+ major issues in Olmstead county. This is not a situation of some guy who got himself into a bad spot in his life, he leads a life of crime. But these types of people have learned to manipulate others in order to get what they need and no matter the cost, and without a thought of the expense to others, so until people like his "landlord" stop fuelling his fire.

  • barb47 posted at 11:06 pm on Mon, Jun 9, 2014.

    barb47 Posts: 6

    He loves animals,OK....What is wrong with our justice system? These People should not have to live in fear in there own homes. Keep commiting crimes and bailed out of jail. He needs long term intervention and to serve time for his crimes, what is it going to take???


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