Cottage Grove police: Suspects arrested after returning to site of stolen property; charges filedTwo men were charged Sept. 19 with felony counts following the disappearance of a truck, trailer a new all-terrain vehicle and a four-wheeler from 61 Marine and Sports in Cottage Grove.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A pair of suspects whose stories didn’t add up were arrested in connection with a bungled burglary at a Cottage Grove business.
Two men were charged Wednesday with felony counts following the disappearance of a truck, trailer a new all-terrain vehicle and a four-wheeler from 61 Marine and Sports in Cottage Grove. The equipment was found in nearby fields and then an officer later found two suspects, who police believe had returned to the area to retrieve the property.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Washington County District Court:
61 Marine and Sports was contacted Monday after a Cottage Grove police officer on patrol in the area discovered that a fence to the business along Highway 61 was damaged. The business confirmed that a truck, trailer, ATV and four-wheeler had been stolen. Later that day, the vehicles were found in farm fields south of 100th Street near 61 Marine and Sports.
The stolen 1998 Chevrolet pickup and the trailer were located near storage sheds at the nearby Zywiec’s Landscape and Garden Center’s berry land. A Polaris ATV was found in an adjacent field and the four-wheeler also was located.
The complaint says police also found a nylon bag about 30 yards from the ATV. The bag contained collapsible bolt cutters, a wrench, adhesive remover, screwdrivers and tool bits, lock punches and other tools. A vehicle key fob was recovered, but keys to the stolen vehicles were not located.
Shortly after midnight Tuesday, a police officer was patrolling around 100th Street because police believed the suspects may return for the stolen vehicles.
“The crews just kept checking the area,” Cottage Grove police Capt. Pete Koerner said.
The officer saw a vehicle pulling a trailer that was parked on 100th Street near where the stolen equipment had been found.
The driver, identified as 41-year-old Shawn A. Fultz of Brooklyn Park, offered “inconsistent and vague stories” about why he was there in the middle of the night, the complaint says. His vehicle was searched and police found a ring with five vehicle key fobs, trench coats, ski masks, latex gloves and the seat to a motorized scooter. They contacted the key fob manufacturer, who said they were likely stolen.
Police also noticed that corn stalks were knocked down in a nearby field and there were fresh tracks near the damaged corn. A police K-9 searched the area and found a man about 20 feet into the field. The man, identified as Derrick D. Manson, 40, of Minneapolis, was lying on top of a motorized scooter that was missing its seat. Manson told police he had crashed the scooter several hours earlier and had just been lying there since, the complaint says. Manson was arrested for an outstanding warrant.
It was not clear why Manson had the seat-less scooter there, Koerner said.
Searching the area later that day, police found a Polaris ignition key three corn rows away from where Manson was located. The key matched the stolen ATV, which was valued at $15,000. The business confirmed all keys are made to only work on one ATV.
Manson and Fultz were charged with aiding and abetting theft, receiving stolen property and possessing burglary tools. They were booked into the Washington County Jail.
Both men were scheduled to appear in Washington County District Court on Thursday.
Fultz is scheduled to return to court for an initial appearance on Sept. 27. Manson has a similar hearing set for Oct. 24.