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Minnesota trio face charges in connection to Hudson holiday season thefts

Joseph Michael Christiansen1 / 2
Travis Alen Morey2 / 2

A Woodbury, Minn., man charged with six counts of felony retail theft was bound over for trial at an April 23 preliminary hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court, according to court records.

Joseph Michael Christiansen, 29, who made his initial appearance in court April 16, was charged with one count of felony retail theft $500-$5,000 Feb. 7 and five counts of felony retail theft $500-$5,000, along with two counts of misdemeanor retail theft Feb. 20 following a series of thefts in early December 2018 through January 2019 from various Hudson businesses, according to charging documents.

Each count of felony retail theft is punishable by up to three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Christiansen is scheduled for a May 13 arraignment.

St. Paul residents Travis Alen Morey and Ashley Ann Reed, both 29, were charged in connection to thefts tied to Christiansen, according to criminal complaints.

Reed was charged Feb. 20 with four counts of felony retail theft $500-$5,000 and one count of misdemeanor retail theft. A warrant was issued for her arrest Feb. 25.

Morey was charged March 11 with two counts of felony retail theft $500-$5,000. His arraignment is set for May 3.

According to the complaints:

From Dec. 3, 2018 through Jan. 9, a man believed to be Christiansen was captured on various Hudson businesses' security footage taking items from stores without paying, loading them into a vehicle waiting outside and driving away.

Fleet Farm, Target and Menards were all targeted.

On Dec. 7, 2018, Hudson police received a call from a Target employee at 9:10 p.m. who said two individuals theft the store through a fire exit without paying for items worth $1,678. The employee informed police the two individuals did the same thing around 6 p.m. that evening, that time leaving with $1,519,73 in merchandise.

The next day police received a call from Menards when two men ran out of the store with more than $800 in stolen items.

Fleet Farm footage from Dec. 11, 2018, shows a male and female stealing $2,092.92 in underwater cameras and fish finders.

Similarities in these cases to previously known Christiansen thefts led investigators to believe he was involved in this more recent string of Hudson thefts.

Target loss prevention employees positively identified Christiansen as involved in the thefts through a photo lineup using one of Christiansen's old jail booking photos; the same photo was used to identify him in the footage from the Menards theft as well.

When questioned by authorities, Christiansen admitted he was involved in the series of thefts from Hudson Target, Menards and Fleet Farm.

Christiansen also identified Reed in clips of store surveillance footage from Fleet Farm and Target and identified a man he only knew as Travis as an accomplice in one of the Fleet Farm thefts.

Authorities also have video from incidents on Dec. 3 and Dec. 26, 2018, as well as Jan. 9 in which Christiansen is believed to have stolen property.

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