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Search warrants contested in armed robbery case

The attorney for armed robbery suspect Michael Warren of Alexandria is contesting evidence that was gathered in the case.

Warren, 28, appeared in Douglas County District Court on July 29 for a contested omnibus hearing before Judge Ann Carrott.

Warren’s attorney, Virginia Boever, filed several motions to suppress evidence that law enforcement obtained by means of search warrants.

The search warrants authorized the search of Warren’s residence and vehicle, and allowed law enforcement to obtain information from his cell phone providers and social media sites.

Boever made several arguments:

● The court shouldn’t have issued the search warrants in the first place due to a lack of probable cause.

● The search warrants were overbroad.

● There was insufficient probable cause to believe that relevant evidence would be found in those locations.

● Evidence unrelated to the search warrants was obtained.

Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson disagreed with each of the contentions. He submitted into evidence 16 search warrants the police obtained before collecting any evidence.

Both sides will submit written arguments to Carrott by August 25 for the defense and September 8 for the prosecution, and Carrott will have up to 90 days to determine whether the search warrants were valid. A decision is expected this fall.

Warren was arrested on March 21 after armed robberies occurred at Subway, Premier Video and Super America in Alexandria between February 23 and March 18. In two of the robberies, a female store clerk was bound and sexually assaulted.

He is charged with 12 felony counts, including four counts of first-degree aggravated robbery (the three stores and an additional robbery of a driver in one of the store's parking lot), three counts of kidnapping, three counts of false imprisonment and two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree.

Warren remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail on a $1 million bail with no conditions, $600,000 with conditions or a bond of $750,000.

Warren became a suspect in the case after investigators, knowing that two of the robberies involved sexual assault, began to interview registered sexual predators in the area, including Warren. He was convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Big Stone County.

After obtaining a warrant, investigators searched Warren’s cell phone and found a video, believed to have been downloaded from a porn site on March 14, which depicts a male with a mask and handgun going into an apartment, threatening a woman and raping her.

Officers also executed a search warrant on Warren’s vehicle and residence and found clothing, shoes and a white plastic bag that is consistent with the items seen during the robberies, according to court documents.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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