ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A couple that has been accused in a rash of recent musical instrument thefts from local colleges is now also charged with stealing things from real estate open houses.
Police arrested Michael Joseph Lippert and Nicole Marie Korolchuk last week after word went out that the two were wanted for a string of musical instrument thefts from Hamline University, Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas over the past two weeks.
Police say the two pawned some of the instruments using their own identification. The serial numbers of those instruments and the couple’s names were then entered into the automated pawn system, which sent out an alert.
Among the instruments they stole were a guitar and two trombones.
According to criminal complaints recently filed, the two also allegedly stole a number of items from open houses in the Twin Cities, including jewelry, electronics and power tools.
“They would go to open houses in residential areas, and when they were walking around unattended they would go through and take jewelry … even possible medications,” St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos said. “Whatever they could pocket or conceal on their bodies, and then leave the house with it.”
A real estate agent noted that Korolchuk’s purse was notably thicker than when she had arrived at one of the homes on Nov. 2. The real estate agent confronted her and asked to see inside her purse.
The woman tried to go out the back door, but the agent grabbed the purse and found jewelry, electronics and prescriptions.
Korolchuk returned the stolen items and fled the property.
When police caught up with Korolchuk and Lippert later on, they discovered a few loose pills in her purse still, which they were able to identify as Trazadone.
The homeowner later identified a number of other items Korolchuk tried to steal, including an iPhone 4S, an iPhone 4S case, 2 phone chargers, a large Kindle, a small Kindle, a bottle of prescription hydromorphone, 2 bottles of prescription alprazolam, and assorted jewelry.
Korolchuk has no permanent address and is living out of her vehicle, the complaint says.
Lippert told police that he was the one who pawned the items because he was the only one in the group who had identification. The charges state that he admitted that they pawned the items to support their drug habits.