FAIRMONT - A 35-year-old Blue Earth man faces a felony theft charge after allegedly taking numerous items from a Martin County farm acreage and selling it for scrap.
According to information from the Martin County Sheriff's Office:
Officials were contacted Aug. 23 by a woman who owned an acreage in rural Martin County. She reported that numerous items were stolen from the acreage, including a 1957 Chevrolet block engine from a restored vehicle.
The theft was brought to the owner's attention when a relative who was watching the residence noticed an open garage door Aug. 12, and saw a truck pull into the acreage as he was investigating. The relative confronted the truck driver, who identified himself as "Dave."
The acreage owner and relative later learned the engine that was stolen had been sold to a salvage yard in Elmore, and the name of the person who brought it in was "Dave Olson," later identified by police as David Allan Olson.
When Martin County deputies investigated the acreage, they noticed both the house and garage were in disarray. The owner told investigators that prior, everything was neatly packed into stacked-up plastic totes. There were also several broken windows on the house and garage, and a window air-conditioner unit was also taken.
From the barn, a 14-foot boat was taken, along with a motorcycle, several tool boxes, and other miscellaneous items. Also reported stolen were steel feeders from a hog barn, and several large walk-in steel doors from a grain bin.
The resident who saw Olson drive up to the residence reported to police that he noticed the tattoos on Olson's arms. Faribault County law enforcement assisted with identification, and the resident was able to identify Olson as the man seen out at the acreage.
Contact was made with the Elmore salvage yard, and police learned Olson had brought the boat in for scrap, but ended up selling it to a third party. A list of transactions was obtained from the salvage yard, and there was also video of Olson unloading the items.
A search warrant was executed on Olson's residence, and while none of the missing items were located at his residence, Olson indicated knowing about the acreage.
During an interview at the law enforcement center, Olson said he had been given permission to salvage anything at the acreage he found outside, and that he'd made several trips there in the past three to four weeks. When he ran into the relative at the residence, Olson said he got scared because he realized he wasn't supposed to be there. However, Olson admitted to going back to the acreage after he knew he didn't have permission to be there.
The person who Olson identified as giving him permission to find salvage items at the acreage was located and interviewed. The person said they had talked to Olson and were aware he wanted to salvage iron and scrap metal, but said they told Olson he needed to get permission from the family first.
Records show Olson sold about $1,300 in scrap items to the Elmore salvage yard, and that he sold the boat for $225.
The value of the items taken were in excess of $1,000.
The felony theft charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.