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Victims forced to hide in closet during violent nighttime burglary, Mitchell police say

Burglaries committed in the nighttime are upgraded to a Class 2 felony, which carry a stronger punishment

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The Mitchell Police Division is a part of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)
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A Mitchell man is facing charges after authorities say he burglarized a home and forced two victims to hide inside a closet.

Court documents allege that at approximately 3 a.m. on Nov. 18, 41-year-old Chamberlain resident Robby Stewart entered into a residence in Mitchell in which he did not reside. An unspecified number of victims occupied the home, and told police they had never met Stewart before.

The victims were either sleeping or preparing to sleep when Stewart allegedly entered the residence through the front door and began "yelling and scaring" the victims.

As the residents confronted Stewart, he is accused of throwing items throughout the structure's main floor, including several items from the fridge, at or in the direction of the victims.

"Two of the victims in this case were scared to the point of hiding in a closet, where one was able to call 911," a Mitchell police officer wrote in an arrest affidavit.

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Police say Stewart attempted to get into the closet where two victims were hiding by kicking the door, damaging it and the door frame.

Eventually, two residents were able to tackle and hold Stewart down until police arrived.

Authorities estimated that the value of damage to perishable foods, the door and doorframe at under $400.

An officer wrote to the court that Stewart "exhibit signs of drug intoxication," a conclusion based on Stewart's "erratic behavior, not knowing how he got to where he was" and making statements to police that were "completely unrelated" to the alleged burglary.

Stewart was charged with first-degree burglary, a Class 2 felony defined as a burglary committed in the nighttime or when physical harm is attempted to be inflicted upon a victim.

If found guilty on the charge, Stewart could face up to 25 years in prison, a $50,000 fine or both.

Stewart appeared in a Davison County courtroom on Nov. 19 — the morning after his arrest. He's scheduled to appear again on Thursday, Dec. 2.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at HDunteman@MitchellRepublic.com, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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