WOODBURY - Police say a Cottage Grove man was working to benefit a gang when he allegedly served as the getaway driver in a theft operation targeting Woodbury houses.

Washington County prosecutors in May charged 21-year-old Chee Yang with one count of committing a first-degree burglary for the benefit of a gang - a felony that calls for a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in August.

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Yang is accused of helping to burglarize a residence in the 9000 block of Highview Lane during a November 2010 incident.

Police were called to the house Nov. 17, 2010, by a resident who said his vehicle and an attached garage had been entered. Numerous items, including a GPS system and a smart phone, were reported stolen.

Investigation of the scene indicated someone smashed the window of a vehicle parked outside the house. Someone then used a garage door opener left inside the vehicle to gain access to the garage, where another cell phone was taken from a vehicle parked inside.

Woodbury investigators turned to Yang after receiving information that he had pawned the stolen GPS the same day in St. Paul. Police also learned Yang was under investigation by Cottage Grove and Prior Lake police for thefts in other parts of the Twin Cities.

Investigators from Woodbury visited Yang's parents' house in Cottage Grove, where he agreed to an interview about the Highview Lane theft. After initially denying involvement, he later allegedly admitted to driving a car while an acquaintance stole items from cars parked in the neighborhood.

The complaint states Yang admitted to being a member of the True Blood Asian 22 street gang during the interview and showed investigators his gang tattoos.

Another True Blood gang member implicated in the case also named Yang as the getaway driver for street thefts. That man said Yang pumped gas at a Woodbury service station with a stolen credit card taken in the Highview Lane break-in.

Yang's next court appearance is set for Aug. 17.