A St. James man was was arrested after using a restaurant’s rooftop air conditioning unit to break in and raid their safe.

A St. James man was was arrested after using a restaurant’s rooftop air conditioning unit to break in and raid their safe. Ken. M. Kaufmann, age 19, was charged with burglary and property damage.

On Dec. 26, a detective from the Rolla Police was assigned to investigate the report of a burglary that had allegedly taken place on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at the Hardee’s restaurant located on North Bishop Avenue.

The burglary was captured by the business’ video surveillance system, and according to the case’s probable cause statement, was carried out by two individuals.

The probable cause statement says the burglary took place in two stages. The first began as one of the suspects forced entry into the restaurant via the rooftop air conditioning unit, traveling down from there into the kitchen area. This entry reportedly caused extensive damage to the commercial air conditioning unit, as well as the ceiling of the restaurant. An area of approximately 16 square feet of ceiling material, duct work, wires and cables was damaged and found lying on the kitchen floor.

Once inside, according to the probable cause statement, a male suspect then walked to the front door and proceeded to unlock it. He then, reportedly, exited the building.

The statement noted approximately 37 minutes later,  the suspect returned with another individual. Both were reportedly wearing hooded sweatshirts that “mostly covered their faces.” The suspects entered through the previously locked door and and moved to the area behind the front counter. This is reportedly where the safe was located.

The probable cause statement says the two suspects then knelt down in front of the safe and the second suspect entered a code into the safe’s digital keypad. The suspects successfully opened the safe and removed approximately $978.75. The suspects then closed the safe and left the building.

During his investigation, the detective was reportedly able to retrieve the log-in information used to open the safe. The detective learned it was accessed by a user “U19” at approximately 10 p.m. on the 24th, which matched the time of the burglary.

The detective identified “U19” as former Hardee’s employee Ken. M. Kaufmann. The code used to open the safe was reportedly specific to Kaufmann and had not been used to access the safe since the time of his employment. The statement noted Kaufmann’s last day of employment at the restaurant was Oct. 19, 2017. The video reportedly showed that the suspect who opened the safe had the same build and physical description of Kaufmann.

According to the probable cause statement, the detective arrested Kaufmann at his residence in St. James, observing his identical “build, posture and mannerisms” as the suspect in the surveillance video. Kaufmann reportedly implicated himself as being involved in the burglary after being informed of his Miranda Rights, and said he would tell [the detective] the truth about everything that happened.” However Kaufmann would not provide the name of his accomplice and requested an attorney.

Kaufmann was placed on a twenty-four hour hold for the charges of burglary in the 2nd degree and property damage in the first degree.