Two La Crosse residents were charged Friday with pushing their way into someone’s house over the weekend and stealing money before fleeing, leaving a cellphone and pistol magazine behind.
Kristin L. Lopez, 23, and Kenneth J. Lawson, 31, were both in La Crosse County Circuit Court Friday in connection with the Sunday robbery.
According to the complaint, Lopez and Lawson forced their way into an apartment on Seventh Street in La Crosse, knocking down the woman who answered the door at about 8:38 p.m. Sunday.
The woman told police she curled into a ball and was hit several times by Lopez, then Lawson stepped over her into the apartment. The woman’s brother tried to stop Lawson and the two got into a fight, causing a 9-mm pistol to fall from the waistband of Lawson’s pants, according to the complaint. Meanwhile, Lopez grabbed $200 cash from the woman’s purse, the victim told police.
The man recovered the gun while grappling with Lawson, then ran into the bathroom, according to the complaint. The man told Lawson that he would give the gun back and allow the alleged robbers to leave, if he allowed him to unload the gun before giving it back. Lawson agreed and they fled down an alleyway.
A neighbor was watching TV with the blinds open when he saw the robbery begin and called police.
Police arrived after the suspects had fled, but were able to see significant bruising on both residents of the apartment, according to the complaint.
The victims turned the gun’s magazine over the police, as well as a cell phone neither one recognized. The neighbor who called police opened the phone to see an Instagram account belonging to Lawson, according to the complaint.
Police received a search warrant to do a full search of the phone and found a conversation between Lawson and Kristine Kulas, planning the robbery, according to the complaint.
Lopez told police Kulas had driven them to the area and wanted them to steal marijuana from residence. She said she stole marijuana, not money from the apartment, according to the complaint.
Kulas was arrested this week, but has not been charged.
Lopez and Lawson were arrested Wednesday after police searched their residence. According to the complaint, investigators found several small bags of marijuana and a glass pipe at the apartment.
Lopez was charged Friday with robbery with use of force, possession with intent to deliver THC, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor bail jumping.
She was released on a $1,000 signature bond ordered by Court Commissioner Keith Belzer, with the condition that she abide by GPS monitoring and have no contact with the victims or her co-defendant.
Lawson was charged Friday with armed robbery with use of force, possession of a firearm by a felon and misdemeanor battery using a dangerous weapon.
He remains jailed on a $5,000 cash bond ordered by Belzer and will also need to abide by GPS monitoring if released.
Jourdan Vian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.