WORTHINGTON — Two men were arrested and charged with a number of criminal offenses during a Sept. 25 traffic stop following the discovery of a stolen firearm with a filed-off serial number.
The driver of the vehicle involved in the traffic stop initially took the blame for the firearm, but later explained that they had given someone named Simon a ride from Windom to Worthington and that Simon had told the driver to be careful because there were stolen guns in the back seat.
During the drive, Simon had allegedly loaded a handgun and shot out the window twice near Shine Brothers in Worthington. Simon had also held the gun to the driver's head and threatened to shoot the driver, it was reported.
As the driver was being pulled over, they were on the phone with Simon, who allegedly said he would shoot the driver if anything was told to police about the guns.
After interviewing the driver, officers identified "Simon" as Simon Gebrehiwot, 21.
The driver had stated that the ammunition fired out of the handgun was stolen from Runnings, and that Gebrehiwot had snuck the bullets out in his pockets. Security footage from Runnings corroborated this claim.
On Sept. 28, police received an anonymous tip that Gebrehiwot and another individual were in possession of a firearm and narcotics in a vehicle near Nobles Square Apartments.
When officers stopped the vehicle, one of the occupants, Drake Weaver, 18, of Emmetsburg, Iowa, was frisked at the scene, and a loaded Ruger Mark III .22 LR pistol was found in the waistband of his pants. The firearm matched the description given to police of the gun that had been used to fire the shots near Shine Brothers and threaten the driver involved in the traffic stop.
Both a Ruger Mark III .22 LR pistol and a Mossberg .22 LR bolt-action rifle (the model discovered during the traffic stop), as well as two other firearms, were reported stolen in Cottonwood County Sept. 21, and the owner had stated that Gebrehiwot had recently been in their home.
Also on Weaver's person were a glass pipe that field tested positive for methamphetamine, and a container of .22 LR ammunition.
Weaver was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property — a felony with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine — as well as felony fifth-degree drug possession, gross misdemeanor carrying a pistol without a permit and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Upon arrival at Nobles County Jail, officers discovered a plastic bag containing a crystalline substance in the squad car in the seat where Gebrehiwot had been sitting. Review of squad car video showed Gebrehiwot removing the bag from his crotch and putting it behind his back. The bag weighed about 32.11 grams and was sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.
Gebrehiwot was charged with eight felony offenses: two counts of possession of stolen property, each of which carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon convicted of a crime of violence; second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon; threats of violence; and possession of a firearm with the serial number filed off. He was also charged with misdemeanor theft.
Gebrehiwot has previously been convicted of violent crime three times. If convicted in this case, his sentence will be based on his criminal history. He was released from Nobles County Jail Sept. 30 after posting $60,000 conditional bail.
Weaver was released from Nobles County Jail Sept. 30 on conditional bail at no cost.