Submitted: March 29, 2017
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - St. Paul
MURPHY, COLLOTON, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
MURPHY, Circuit Judge.
Derek Benedict and Lyle Carpenter were convicted by a jury of
conspiracy and burglarizing various drug stores in Minnesota
and Iowa where they stole pharmaceutical products and cash
from safes, registers, and ATMs. They now appeal their
convictions and their sentences imposed by the district
court. We affirm.
2009 to 2012, Derek Benedict and Lyle Carpenter were involved
in a series of commercial burglaries, conspiring at various
times with six other people: Jason Mussehl, Julia Julien, Tim
Kielb, Cher Mayotte, Jennifer Stanley, and Jonathan Quast.
Jason Mussehl was involved in burglaries for over 25 years,
which were his primary source of income. He knew Benedict
from elementary school and met Carpenter in 2009.
Mussehl's half brother was Jonathan Quast, and Mussehl
dated both Julia Julien and Jennifer Stanley. Additional
members of the conspiracy were Tim Kielb and his girlfriend,
group's burglaries focused on the theft of money and
pharmaceuticals from businesses they investigated as
potential targets, where they would first look for motion
sensors and locate any alarm systems. They would then return
at night to break into a targeted building, often cutting a
hole in the roof near an alarm which they proceeded to
disarm. At other times they entered a building by knocking
down an exterior wall or by prying open the front door and
disabling any alarm before a signal could be sent. Once an
alarm was disabled, the burglars would leave the location for
a half hour or more to ensure that they had not been
detected. One of the group was tasked with waiting outside in
the vicinity of a targeted business to watch for any law
enforcement personnel. After being satisfied that they had
not been detected, the burglars would reenter the store,
drill open safes and ATMs, and carry away their contents. The
burglars working inside a store would communicate by two way
radio with their confederate remaining outside. Carpenter
specialized in drilling into safes and ATM machines, a task
at which he excelled. Benedict served as driver and kept
watch outside for any approaching police.
October 4, 2009, Carpenter, Mussehl, Tim Kielb and Jennifer
Stanley burglarized a Walgreens drug store in Minneapolis and
transported its ATM to the house of a friend. After breaking
into the machine and obtaining its contents, the burglars
disposed of the machine in the Mississippi River. Later that
month, Benedict, Carpenter, Mussehl, and Stanley burglarized
a Walgreens store in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. Then the same
four burglars broke into a Golden Valley Walgreens in
November and a South Minneapolis Walgreens in December.
went to prison after he was convicted of a different crime,
but Mussehl continued to burglarize Walgreens stores.
Benedict wanted to participate in these burglaries, but
Mussehl turned him down. When Carpenter was released from
prison in 2012, he again joined in burglaries with Benedict
and Mussehl. On July 15, 2012, Benedict and Carpenter,
together with Mussehl, Kielb, Cher Mayotte, and Julia Julien,
burglarized a pharmacy in Bloomington, Minnesota (Bloomington
Drug). The burglars took both money and pharmaceuticals.
Carpenter, Mussehl, Kielb, and Mayotte next committed a
burglary at a gas station in Prior Lake, Minnesota on August
19, 2012. They removed an ATM belonging to South Metro
Federal Credit Union and transported it in Mussehl's
truck to a friend's garage, where they broke into it.
Four days later, Carpenter, Mussehl, Kielb and Quast
burglarized a Walgreens store in Circle Pines, Minnesota.
September 9, 2012, Benedict, Carpenter, Mussehl and Julien
burglarized a Walgreens store in Des Moines, Iowa. Benedict
again kept watch outside the store, and Carpenter and Mussehl
entered the building. Later that day, Benedict bought an
Infiniti using his share of the proceeds from the burglary.
early 2013, coconspirator Tim Kielb had been arrested and
began to cooperate with law enforcement agents. He used a
recording device to capture several discussions with Benedict
and Carpenter about burglaries. In February of that year,
police found a glove at the site of an Aldi Foods store in
Blaine, Minnesota, which had been burglarized by entering
through the roof. A DNA swab of the Aldi glove linked to a
predominate profile that matched to Lyle Carpenter. On June
9, 2013, Carpenter was arrested while burglarizing a Super
America gas station. He was apprehended along with a crowbar,
sledgehammer, mask and two way radio.
and Carpenter were jointly charged with conspiracy to commit
bank burglary, bank larceny, and interstate transportation of
stolen property, conspiracy to steal controlled substances,
bank larceny, burglary involving controlled substances, and
interstate transportation of stolen property. The ten count
indictment also charged Carpenter on additional substantive
charges of bank burglary, bank larceny, credit union
burglary, and burglary involving controlled substances.
Benedict and Carpenter were the only two defendants to
proceed to trial; each of the other coconspirators pled
guilty. In addition to testimony from numerous law
enforcement officials and others, the government called
coconspirators Mussehl, Julien, Kielb, Stanley, and Mayotte
to testify and describe their own roles in the conspiracy, as
well those of Benedict and Carpenter. Coconspirator Jonathan
Quast was additionally called to testify about the burglary
he committed with Carpenter in Circle Pines, Minnesota.
moved to sever, but severance was denied. He also sought to
have an expert witness testify to the subject of the
untrustworthiness of coconspirator testimony, but his request
was untimely and rejected by the district court. Both men
were convicted of all charged crimes. At sentencing the
district court concluded that both Benedict and Carpenter
were career offenders. They were sentenced accordingly:
Carpenter to 210 months with $272, 561 ordered in