Sheriff’s office seizes alleged stolen itemsWORTHINGTON — Nobles County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jay Clark has his work cut out for him.
WORTHINGTON — Nobles County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jay Clark has his work cut out for him.
He is in the process of trying to identify a multitude of items seized during a recent search warrant execution — all of which are believed to have been stolen in the past year or so by a band of burglars who hit more than a dozen businesses and residences.
“There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason,” Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening said Wednesday. “You have it, they took it.”
Seized items include chain saws, hand tools, power tools, vehicle parts, torches, toys, buckets and totes, fishing tackle, vehicle radios, hand-held radios and more.
Clarke said it took four people three hours to load all the items into a trailer.
Certain items have already been identified as coming from reported burglaries, but Clarke is going through a stack of reports trying to figure out where the other tools, toys and totes came from.
“I’ve got a big stack of reports and am trying to cross-reference various items,” Clarke said.
Unfortunately, the people Clarke believes are responsible for a chain of burglaries were not apprehended. Information Clarke received indicates the two or three alleged burglars may have left the state headed toward Kentucky with a truckload of other items.
The alleged burglars came to the attention of law enforcement because of a man who had purchased a used chain saw from an acquaintance.
“It all came from a conversation about the chain saw and what a good deal he got,” Wilkening stated. “It just snowballed after that.”
The man had mentioned paying $75 for a saw worth more than $400, and a co-worker warned him the saw may be “hot.” Clarke was told about the conversation and contacted the man who had purchased the saw. From there, he traced the path of the saw back to a residence in rural Reading. The residents of the home said some people who had lived with them had stolen the items.
“They called me and told me to come get it,” Clarke said.
The stolen items were located inside an old granary-type building.
Some of the items have been identified as having been stolen from a storage facility in Brewster, and Clarke thinks some of the unidentified things may have come from there as well.
“If anyone had a burglary or theft within the past year involving hand or power tools or construction equipment, contact the sheriff’s office,” Wilkening said.
“We’re asking people to help,” Clarke added. “If I have a name, then I can pull that specific file.”
Which is quicker and more efficient than shuffling through the stack of burglary reports and trying to match a description of a missing item to one of the hundreds of items now sitting in evidence at the law enforcement center.
Standing in the open door of an evidence storage garage, Clarke looked out over the piles of tools, boxes, totes and buckets.
“There is an excess of $30,000 here,” he said. “I won’t be a bit surprised if (the burglaries) spill into Rock County and Iowa.”
Even as items are identified, the owners may not be able to take possession of their property right away. The things need to be photographed as evidence, and in some cases, insurance companies will have to be contacted. Clarke said if someone reported an item stolen, then received insurance payment for replacement, he can’t hand the item over to the original owner.
“This thing is a long way from being resolved,” he added.
Wilkening said the recovery of the stolen equipment is a great reminder for people to write down serial numbers and mark their belongings in a way that would help with identification in case of theft.