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South Dakota man charged after reportedly stealing vehicle from handicap parking spot

The vehicle was later located at Schoneman Park with Ortmeier inside, according to the report.

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Ortmeier
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LUVERNE — An Aberdeen, South Dakota resident has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, a felony-level offense, after reportedly stealing a car from a handicapped parking spot.

On June 10, law enforcement was dispatched to a store in Luverne to take a report of a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with the victim, who stated he had parked a 2018 Honda Ridgeline pickup in the handicap parking stall before entering the store using a mobility scooter.

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While in the store, the victim said an unknown person stole his truck, using the keys left inside the vehicle.

A store employee was able to provide a description of the suspect, later identified as Tommy Joe Ortmeier, 43. Within the hour, law enforcement received a tip that the stolen vehicle might be parked at Schoneman Park.

The officer made contact with a vehicle that matched the license plate and description given by the victim, parked by the north pond of Schoneman Park. Ortmeier was reportedly the sole occupant of the vehicle at that time and told the officer that the vehicle belonged to him and he was just hanging out. Ortemeier stated he did not have any identification on him.

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According to the report, the vehicle smelled of alcohol, and Ortmeier could not recall being at the store earlier. When asked how Ortmeier had gotten to Luverne, he reportedly told the officer he was “sure” he’d been drinking and driving.

Ortmeier also informed the officer he had an upcoming court date in South Dakota for a pending DWI charge.

A preliminary breath test given to Ortmeier indicated a breath alcohol content of .218. Ortmeier was placed under arrest and later transported to Nobles County Jail.

Along with the motor vehicle theft charge, Ortmeier also faces a gross misdemeanor count of second-degree DWI, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, a $3,000 fine, or both. The maximum sentence for motor vehicle theft is five years imprisonment, and/or a $10,000 fine.

Ortmeier is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on June 20.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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