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Craigslist Used to Help Solve Thefts in Olmsted County

Posted at: 11/15/2012 6:48 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- An unusual source helped the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department potentially solve a string of burglaries. Craigslist helped deputies catch a suspect in the act.

It's become a common place to sell used items, but stolen items? After receiving a tip, about stolen items being sold on Craigslist the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department was able to arrest two suspects linked to burglaries across three counties.

"This is one of the first that I can recall, we've been able to meet up with a suspect and make a purchase," said Sgt. Tom Claymon.

He says after a tip about stolen goods on Craigslist Wednesday, an undercover officer posed as a potential buyer in order to investigate.

"When the officer took a look at the chainsaw they were able determine relatively quickly that it was a stolen chainsaw," said Sgt. Claymon.

The alleged craigslist seller, Ryan Rechtzigel, was arrested. His girlfriend, Angela Stewart, was arrested later after police say they found evidence of her involvement.

"We've been able to link them to burglaries in 3 different counties," said Sgt. Claymon.

Eventually 3 search warrants were executed. One at a farm in rural Rochester and another at a storage facility in Stewartville. Police say stolen goods were found at both sites, as well as the third.

"A lot of what they stole was tools things they could sell online," said Sgt. Claymon.

All of the arrests made thanks in part to a tip from vigilant Craigslist user. Claymon says it's another example of how the public can help.

"We really rely on upon members of the community to help us look for successful resolutions for cases, it's one of the things we constantly ask for, assistance from the public."

The Sheriff’s department says all of the stolen tools will be returned to their original owners. Rechtzigal and Stewart are in custody in Wabasha County.