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Rushmore man charged with thefts

WORTHINGTON -- First arrested for financial transaction card fraud before his 21st birthday and becoming a frequent visitor in courtrooms in the years to follow, Jeffrey John Tosch, 31, of Rushmore, is now facing felony theft and property damage charges after a series of alleged robberies over the summer.

Five felony counts were charged against Tosch this week in Nobles County District Court.

The criminal complaint states authorities were informed of equipment missing from a construction site in May.

Approximately $3,000 in batteries and other items were stolen from a company working on the Minnesota 60 project.

A generator was stolen, as was a CB radio. The lock on the generator had been cut.

On June 17, another construction site theft was reported on 200th Street. Missing from the site were a generator, hammer drills, saws and gasoline -- a total loss of $1,950 in equipment, it was estimated.

Later that month, a woman contacted the Nobles County Sheriff's Office to say her boyfriend, Tosch, had assaulted her.

During the investigation into the assault, a deputy learned the woman believed Tosch was responsible for several thefts in the area.

She told authorities Tosch and a friend would go out at night to get copper and other items, stating they had taken batteries one night and jackhammers another night.

The woman gave the name of several pawn shops she believed Tosch was using, and said the batteries were taken to Shine Brothers or to a place in Marshall.

The deputy contacted the pawn shops and found two in Sioux City, Iowa, that had been used by Tosch and his friend to pawn a generator, drill, jackhammer and concrete saw.

Several of the items were seized from the pawn shops.

Tosch was asked to give a statement, but refused, indicating he wanted an attorney.

On July 12, a deputy investigated a property damage report in Rushmore.

The owner of a rental property reported he had taken Tosch and his friend to court to evict them, but alleged the two men had taken all of the copper tubing and electrical wires from the residence. Electrical cords had been cut and removed, as had copper tubing from the hot water heater and water filter.

The owner reported the residence's water and electricity had been cut off the previous week due to lack of payment by Tosch and his friend. The damage was estimated at $3,275.

A deputy investigating the theft cases learned Tosch had sold more than 600 pounds of batteries to Shine Brothers over the past few months.

An employee showed the deputy one of the batteries, which was marked with the letters MCC and matched the description of a battery removed from a bulldozer at one of the construction sites.

In July authorities were alerted that Tosch was at Shine Brothers.

He and his girlfriend were detained and taken to the Prairie Justice Center. Tosch again refused to speak, asking for an attorney.

He is scheduled to make a first appearance in court on the charges Dec. 13 at the Prairie Justice Center.

Tosch is currently on probation after pleading guilty to a domestic assault charge in Murray County in July 2010.

He was first charged with domestic assault in March 2010, and a second incident in June resulted in a second round of charges.

He was given a stay of imposition.

After his conviction for fraud in 2002, Tosch was put on probation for three years.

He was convicted of forgery in March 2004 and ordered to serve 21 days in jail and pay restitution of more than $1,000.

He was also placed on probation for five years.

In 2007, he was charged with burglary, trespassing and property damage, eventually pleading guilty to the burglary charge.

He was charged with probation violation and sentenced to serve 17 months in prison.

His probation was extended and would have ended in December 2010, but a conviction for disorderly conduct pushed that date out to June 2011.

The last domestic assault conviction extended the probation period to July 2012.

Each of the five current felony counts carries a maximum penalty of five years incarceration and/or $10,000 in fines.