Janesville32.4°

Suspects to be arraigned for numerous Rock County burglaries

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staff, Gazette
June 12, 2013

— A Janesville couple is set for arraignment in the coming days on more than two dozen charges related to a string of burglaries, which authorities said they committed to support drug addictions.

The pair—Misty Kvistad, 35, and Kenneth Harris II, 31—stole electronics, jewelry and guns from homes around Rock County in April and May, according to court documents.

Kvistad and Harris, along with other suspected burglars, then swapped those stolen items for drugs at a Beloit home police searched last month, authorities said.

Kvistad, of 1516 Sylvester St., is facing 19 charges—10 of them felonies—for burglary, burglary with a dangerous weapon and theft, court records show.

Prosecutors have charged Kvistad's boyfriend Harris of 607 E. Milwaukee St., with six counts each of felony burglary and misdemeanor theft, according to court documents.

Each charge is as party to a crime after Kvistad told police Harris had helped her commit a number of burglaries, according to a criminal complaint.

Harris also faces a felony charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Police found nearly six grams of cocaine in a search of Harris' apartment, Janesville police Detective Kyle Austin said in court Tuesday.

Kvistad told police she and Harris would take stolen items to a home at 924 E. Grand Ave., Beloit, to trade them for heroin, according to court documents.

The house was part of a fencing operation in which addicts brought stolen property from burglarized houses and received drugs in return, authorities said.

When Janesville police searched the Beloit home May 18, they recovered a trove of stolen electronics and jewelry, as well as a pair of firearms, according to an inventory of the search.

Police have talked with the home's residents, Austin said.

They are considered suspects for receiving stolen property but have not been charged, he said.

Kvistad waived her right to a preliminary hearing in Rock County Court on Monday and will be arraigned today.

Harris' lawyer, Joshua Klaff, in court Tuesday argued that the case against Harris should be dismissed.

Klaff pointed out witnesses who told police they spotted Kvistad leaving recently burglarized homes but never mentioned seeing Harris with her, although authorities said Harris was involved in those break-ins.

"The state's case hinges on a co-defendant's testimony," Klaff said.

Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer found prosecutors' evidence met the standard necessary to arraign Harris.

Harris will plead not guilty to all of the charges when he is arraigned June 18, Klaff said after the hearing.



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