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Minn. men charged in stolen property case

Pierce County prosecutors say two Twin Cities men are responsible for more than $400,000 worth of stolen equipment found last winter at a Spring Valley man's property.

Rosemount resident Wayne A. Torseth and St. Paul resident Andrew Patrick Olson were each charged Aug. 2 with 17 counts of receiving stolen property. Olson, 31, is also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Warrants were issued for both men Aug. 3.

The charges stemmed from a Feb. 11 discovery at N7082 330th St. in Spring Valley, where investigators say 22 stolen items — ranging from a skid loader to an arcade claw machine — were found. The value of the stolen items, all taken from the metro area, totaled about $445,500.

According to a criminal complaint:

Pierce County sheriff's investigators executed a search warrant on the farmstead property in February after an owner of one of the stolen skid loaders said he saw it there.

Investigators went to a shed on the property where they found a woman who said she'd been living inside it. The woman said the property owner allowed her and her husband, Olson, to live there.

Olson spent most of his time in St. Paul and stayed at the Spring Valley property about once a week, the woman told authorities. She said Olson and his friend Torseth, 35, brought trailers, equipment and other items to the property.

A search of the shed turned up four shotguns, including one with a sawed-off barrel and no serial number. The discovery prompted the sheriff's office to alert agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Agents went to the farmstead and found ammunition, empty handgun boxes, holsters, suspected drug packaging and drug paraphernalia in the shed where Olson and his wife lived.

The agents also documented evidence of vehicles that had been used for target practice.

Asked by agents where Olson got the money for the guns he had her purchase, the woman said she didn't know, but "only assumed he was stealing and selling things." Torseth, the woman told agents, was also into theft and drugs.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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