Sizeable Scrap Bust

Posted at: 02/15/2013 6:46 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The Olmsted County Sheriff's Department arrested two Rochester residents Thursday afternoon, after a call came in about a suspicious vehicle.

Deputies found the suspects with a pile of scrap metal in their vehicle, but it was no easy arrest. The suspects lead officers on a 3 mile foot chase.

This most recent scrapper theft is only one out of many.

"He recognized the vehicle from a week earlier where he noted the same vehicle in a similar location," said Sgt. Tom Claymon.

A county road worker gave the tip that lead the Olmsted County Sheriff's department as well as the Rochester Police department on a foot chase.

Deputies followed the tracks in the snow left outside an abandoned farm on a rough pursuit through the woods. Eventually arresting 34 year old Mark Smith and 47 year old Ann Steidler, both of Rochester.

"Through the investigation it was determined these two parties were indeed barging into abandoned property in that area," said Sgt. Claymon.

The suspect’s vehicle was full of scrap metal from this abandoned farm as well as a nearby radio tower.

Like many scrapping cases they planned to turn around sell the metal.

This was not the only scrapping incident this week.

A future Casey's gas station in Oronoco was stripped of some of its electrical wire between February 8th to the 14th.

"It’s very frustrating," said construction manager Aaron Fowler.

He says scrapping incidents have become something to expect in the industry. The setbacks from scrapper thefts can add up.

"It might be a penny to the dollar that the thief might get, but it can add up to hundreds in lost productivity," said Fowler.

But unlike the abandoned farm incident authorities were not able to locate a suspect in this case.

"It's always much more rewarding during a report when you are able to have a successful resolution like this one," said Sgt. Claymon.

Showing the impact the public can have with a watchful eye.

"They saw something that didn't look right and instead of driving on, he followed his instinct and called law enforcement," said Sgt. Claymon.

Both suspects are facing charges of 3rd degree burglary. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Department says the suspects are well known for scrapping.

The suspects have also been linked to a scrapper theft that happened back in January.