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Arson investigation leads police to stolen property

A Farmington man who faces felony charges for setting a truck on fire is also a suspect in four thefts and burglaries that happened last week.

Glenn Adam Smith, 23, was charged earlier this week with one count of arson in the third degree and one count of felony theft after allegedly setting fire to a truck on Brennan Path in Farmington on July 9.

According to Farmington police detective sergeant Jim Murphy, police were called to the home on Brennan Path after the resident saw someone digging in his truck. He went outside to confront the man in the truck, and the man fled. As the resident was about to chase the intruder, he noticed his truck was on fire. He called 911, then used an extinguisher to put out the fire.

When officers arrived, they started to go through the vehicle with the victim. While the victim was able to list a number of things taken from his truck, including speakers and tools, he was not able to identify an iPod found in the vehicle. He gave police a description of the man who had broken into his truck. The suspect was described as a white male with a small frame, and wearing blue latex gloves.

Police identified Smith as iPod’s owner using an application on the device. They got an address and a description of the vehicle Smith drives. They found the vehicle in the same housing development as the victim’s home.

Inside the vehicle, officers could see a gas can, drill, power tools and a box of blue latex gloves. Officers decided to tow the vehicle to store it until they could get a search warrant, Murphy said. When the tow truck arrived, Smith came out of the home and started to question officers as to why they were towing the truck.

The home was just a few blocks from the victim’s home. On the patio of one of the homes, officers found a number of tools and some other items that matched the description of items taken from the Brennan Path residence.

Smith told officers he was staying with his mother and that someone must have stolen the iPod from his truck. When officers pointed out there was no damage to his truck, Smith said he must have dropped the iPod. He told officers several other conflicting stories, according to the Dakota County attorney’s complaint.

While searching Smith’s truck police found property from two thefts from vehicles and one burglary reported in Lakeville the day before. Officers also found items previously reported stolen from another vehicle in Farmington, Murphy said. Charges are pending in those four incidents.

When officers contacted the previous Farmington victim, she was thrilled to hear they had found her property, .

“She thought she wasn’t going to see that stuff again. It’s always nice when we can do that sort of thing for people,” Murphy said.

Murphy said there are similarities between the Brennan Path arson and two vehicle arsons reported June 29, but he is not ready to tie Smith to those fires.

“It’s very suspicious to have had those car fires, but there is still work to do before we can say if we can link those together or not,” Murphy said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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