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Jury finds man guilty of car theft

Thomas Jeffrey Young

A Crow Wing County jury recently found a 46-year-old Brainerd man guilty for theft of a motor vehicle.

Thomas Jeffrey Young was convicted of a felony offense stemming from a March incident, when an anonymous caller reported the location of a stolen vehicle to a Crow Wing County dispatcher.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office, a sheriff's deputy began investigating the information received in the anonymous phone call. The caller said they believed a stolen vehicle was located at a residence near County Road 127, and was dropped off by Young. The caller said they believed the property owner did not have knowledge of, or involvement in the theft but would likely cooperate with law enforcement.

The deputy verified the vehicle in question was reported stolen in Cass County and drove to the 22000 block of Semmler Road, where the property owner mentioned by the anonymous caller lived. A second deputy in the area joined the call and arrived first, noticing several people down a driveway near a vehicle.

As the deputies approached the vehicle, a man was observed walking very quickly away from the rest of the group, the complaint stated. A second man was observed walking away, but was intercepted by one of the deputies as he walked toward a nearby trailer house. The man was identified as the property owner, and was instructed to stay where he was. The property owner was asked to identify the other man who walked away, and he identified him as Young.

A third man who stayed near the vehicle when deputies approached also identified the man as Young. That man was standing next to his own vehicle, which was parked next to a silver Grand Am verified as the stolen vehicle.

While the deputy was conducting questioning of the two men, the other deputy searched for Young and found him near the Paul Bunyan State Trail. Young claimed he had just left the bar.

The property owner told deputies he did not know the vehicle was stolen. He said Young arrived at his residence the day before, March 21, and left without the vehicle. He received a ride from the third man to retrieve the vehicle the following day, just before deputies arrived.

Crow Wing Assistant County Attorney Candace Prigge represented the state in the case, and Public Defender Kent Struck represented Young.

Young is scheduled for sentencing July 27.