Man charged with impersonating officerWORTHINGTON — An Adrian man charged Thursday with recklessly discharging a firearm within a municipality and illegally possessing a firearm was charged earlier this week with impersonating an officer in Nobles County.
WORTHINGTON — An Adrian man charged Thursday with recklessly discharging a firearm within a municipality and illegally possessing a firearm was charged earlier this week with impersonating an officer in Nobles County.
A complaint filed Tuesday states Timothy Nolan Christle, 36, of Adrian, was also charged with impersonating an officer in Hennepin County in 2005.
The complaint states a Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force (BRDTF) agent received a cell phone call from dispatch July 1. The dispatcher told the agent someone from Hennepin County law enforcement wanted to speak with him. When the dispatcher attempted to transfer the call, it was dropped twice. A short time later, the agent received a call listed as a private number. The agent answered, immediately recognizing the voice from previous police contacts as that of Christle.
The agent asked Christle why he had told the dispatcher he worked for Hennepin County, but Christle denied doing so. He told the agent he knew there was an active warrant for another Adrian man, and he knew the man’s whereabouts. During the conversation, the agent noted Christle may have been intoxicated.
The agent later obtained recordings of the calls between dispatch and the man he suspected was Christle. He recognized the voice as being Christle. In the first recording, the man identified himself as “Ron” with the Hennepin County Narcotics Division and asked the dispatcher to check on the warrant for the Adrian man.
The dispatcher provided the information. During the conversation, Christle, impersonating an officer, referred to the drug task force agent by name several times regarding narcotic cases.
In two other recordings, Christle identified himself as an agent with the narcotics division and asked to be transferred to the BRDTF agent.
Based on an investigation, Christle has never been employed as a peace officer. The complaint states he is currently unemployed and lives in Adrian.
The charges filed Thursday regarding the gun charges stem from an incident in April, when an Adrian Police officer heard gun shots coming from the 300 block of Delaware Ave. He spoke to Christle, who was standing on the front yard of a residence. He told the officer he had been using a hammer to pound on the basement wall. When the officer expressed doubt at the explanation, Christle became agitated and left.
Later he approached the officer again and changed his story, stating another man had been playing with a nail gun using .22 caliber blanks.
After talking to others in the neighborhood over the next two weeks, officers learned Christle was allegedly keeping two guns in a neighbor’s garage. They confronted Christle at his home, but he denied any knowledge of firearms. He then allegedly stated he had given the guns to his girlfriend.
When the agent confronted the girlfriend, she allegedly became nervous and stated she purchased the guns for Christle but did not know where they were. Later she changed her story and denied purchasing the guns.
The neighbor, the brother of Christle’s girlfriend, told the agent he did not have Christle’s guns. Christle had stored them in his garage at one point, the man admitted, but was told to get them out because the man is a convicted felon and couldn’t have them around.
He gave the agents consent to search his house, and when the agents opened the garage, they could see what appeared to be a shotgun sticking out of the rafters and a lock box sitting on top of the gun. They forced the lockbox open and found a 9 mm handgun and ammunition inside.
A man who had been staying with Christle said he, his girlfriend and their children had been staying there until Christle brought guns home and was shooting them in the basement. Several witnesses claimed to have seen Christle “showing off” the guns at various times.
Christle was taken to the Nobles County Jail, then taken to the hospital when he started complaining about withdrawal symptoms. At the emergency room, authorities found Christle had a blood alcohol concentration of .27 percent.
Days later, during an interview, Christle said the shotgun had belonged to his father and grandfather and blamed another man for bringing the gun into his house. He said he didn’t shoot the gun, another person had.
In late June, authorities received consent to search the basement of Christle’s house and found the marks made from a gun being fired into the wall. They found bullet fragments, a 9mm casing and a paint can bearing bullet holes.
Christle has previous charges in several counties — Ramsey, Hennepin and Dakota-Hastings — for theft, check forgery, escaping from custody, driving while impaired, assault and receiving stolen property.