Two Nerstrand men have been charged with being in possession of two all-terrain vehicles that were reported stolen in August from a job site at .
Joshua Gene Goettl, 21, and Dalton Herbert Oster, 21, each face felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaints, the Rice County Sheriff’s Office received information from a citizen informant on Sept. 5 that two John Deere Gator ATVs were parked behind an unattached garage on Main Street in Nerstrand.
The tipster told officers that the first ATV arrived at the home about Aug. 5, and the second one a short time later. The informant said the ATVs are valued at about $10,000 apiece, and thought it was strange that they were parked behind a shed.
Sheriff’s office investigators, who knew that two John Deere Gator ATVs had been reported, went to the Nerstrand address and found the two ATVs parked between a large motor home and a junked minivan.
Because of the way they were parked, the ATVs could not be seen from the street, according to the complaints. Investigators found numbers and letters stenciled on one of the ATVs, and confirmed that they corresponded to one of the stolen ATVs.
The Nerstrand property is rented by Goettl and Oster, who arrived while investigators were there and agreed to allow them to search the property. Officers found similar stenciled letters and numbers on the second ATV, and when they checked the VINs on both vehicles, they discovered that they were the ATVs reported stolen from Carleton.
Both ATVs had thick rubber hoses wrapped around their frames, and one had an intact ignition, but two thin wires had been inserted where the key usually goes, according to the complaints. The ignition on the second ATV had been punched out of the dash and was hanging loosely, and investigators found a flathead screwdriver on the floor of the vehicle.
Oster told investigators that he found both ATVs on the night of Sept. 2 just south of the Nerstrand property, and he and Goettl brought them there, according to the complaints. He denied that the vehicles were likely stolen.
After the two men were arrested, Oster changed his story, telling investigators that he had found the ATVs in a marsh area close to the Nerstrand property, and that he and Goettl used garden hose to drag one of them to their home, according to the complaints. He said he knew that the vehicles were likely stolen.
Goettl told investigators that Oster found the ATVs on Sept. 2, and that he helped him drag them to their home, according to the complaints. When he was asked if they had made any effort to contact police about the ATVs, Goettl said they “didn’t even think of it,” the complaints say.
Goettl and Oster are free on separate $5,000 bonds. Initial appearances in their cases are scheduled Sept. 19 in Rice County District Court.