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Worthington man faces felony charges for possession of stolen property

WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man who was arrested last month on drug charges is now facing another felony for possession of stolen property.

James Matthew Naab, 42, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration for possessing stolen snowmobiles.

After a search warrant was executed at his rural Worthington home on 270th Street July 30, Naab was charged with two felony-level controlled substance crimes. He was arrested and taken into custody, but later bonded out of jail for $2,500. His request for a public defender was denied.

While agents from the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force were searching the property the day of the arrest, they noted the residence consists of 3.22 acres in Worthington Township containing two homes -- one Naab resides in and the other is vacant. Also on the property are a variety of outbuildings.

While checking those buildings pursuant to the warrant, one agent went into a shed on the east side of the property. He observed numerous snowmobiles and frames. The level of dust led the agent to believe some of the snowmobiles had been there for several months or more than a year.

The agent recorded the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) and registration numbers so they could be checked. While listing the numbers, he noticed several of the snowmobiles were missing VIN plates. State law requires any snowmobile made after 1972 and sold in Minnesota to have a VIN on the machine.

The agent located 24 snowmobiles and frames. In the basement of the house, 3 or 4 snowmobile hoods were found. In a garage, 2 or 3 snowmobiles were located, along with various parts.

During questioning about the snowmobiles, Naab told authorities several times "There shouldn't be any stolen," but after looking up VIN and registration numbers, authorities found a match between one of the machines on Naab's property and an Arctic Cat reported stolen from Dickinson County, Iowa, in March.

With the existence of one stolen snowmobile confirmed, as well as the large number of others missing VIN plates, another search warrant was obtained. Authorities went back to the Naab property, along with an agent from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Another snowmobile, reported stolen from Estherville, Iowa, in February, was located.

Authorities seized a third snowmobile when they noted the VIN appeared to have been tampered with.

The criminal complaint regarding the new charge was filed in Nobles County District Court Tuesday. Naab's first appearance is scheduled for Sept. 16. In the drug charges, his next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 30.