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Minn. roundup: Super Bowl Live employee offered VIP tickets in exchange for sex with teens; Blaze destroys 3 barns, kills 22 calves

Super Bowl Live employee offered VIP tickets in exchange for sex with teens

ST PAUL—A Missouri man in town to work at Super Bowl Live is accused of offering two VIP tickets to the event in exchange for sex with a pair of teens.

Justin Beard, 33, of Branson, Mo., was charged Thursday, Feb. 1, with two counts of offering or agreeing to hire a prostitute under the age of 16, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court. He is in custody and is expected to make his first appearance in court on Friday.

On Tuesday, Beard responded to a sex ad on Craigslist, which was placed by a joint sex-trafficking task force comprising several metro law enforcement agencies, the complaint said.

Beard exchanged several text messages with an undercover officer posing as a man trafficking a 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, eventually agreeing to trade a pair of tickets to a Super Bowl Live event for sex with the teens, according to the complaint. The tickets were valued at roughly $200.

When Beard arrived at the address given to him by the undercover officer, he was arrested, the complaint said.

Beard later admitted to investigators that he made arrangements to have sex with the teens, according to the complaint.

Authorities say that as the Twin Cities prepare to host Super Bowl LII on Sunday, planning has long been underway to address any accompanying uptick in prostitution or sex trafficking.

Minn. blaze destroys 3 barns, kills 22 calves

KENSINGTON, Minn. — Three barns and 22 calves were lost in a fire Wednesday night, Jan. 31, on a farm north of Kensington.

The fire apparently started when a skid loader was left idling near some round hay bales, a news release from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said. The fire then spread to nearby calf barns.

A farm worker reported the fire at 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, just south of Minnesota Highway 27 between Kensington and Hoffman. Kensington is 20 miles southwest of Alexandria.

The news release listed the property owner as Mark Fernholz.

A cattle trailer and 50 round bales also were lost to the fire.

Some of the bales were still smoldering on Thursday morning.

The fire remains under investigation. Responding agencies were the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Kensington Fire Department, Hoffman Fire Department and Hoffman Ambulance.

Boy, 8, dies after struck by snowmobile on Chisago County lake

WYOMING, Minn. — An 8-year-old boy who was struck by an allegedly intoxicated snowmobiler last week on a Chisago County lake has died.

Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., of Wyoming, Minn., died Wednesday, Jan. 31, after spending five days in critical condition at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, according to a post on his CaringBridge.com page.

"Alan's brain damage was way worse then any of us thought," the post said. "There was never a day we thought we would have to make a decision like this, the hardest decision we've ever made. Little Alan got his angel wings today."

Alan Jr. was on Chisago Lake with his family setting up a portable ice fishing house shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, when a snowmobile driven by 45-year-old Eric Joseph Coleman struck Alan Jr. and his father, Alan Geisenkoetter Sr., according to criminal charges against Coleman.

Although Alan Sr.'s injuries were not life-threatening, Alan Jr. was airlifted to the hospital with severe head trauma and multiple fractures to both of his legs.

Coleman, of Chisago City, was arrested and transported to Regions Hospital, in St. Paul, with a broken arm. He was charged Monday with driving while intoxicated and two counts of criminal vehicular operation.

Man dead after police pursuit, encounter in southwestern Minn.

ST. JAMES, Minn. — Authorities say a man is dead after being shot by a law enforcement officer during a Wednesday, Jan. 31, incident in the southwestern Minnesota community of St. James.

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the matter, the incident began unfolding late Wednesday morning when Nicollet County sheriff's deputies spotted a vehicle in Lafayette that had been reported stolen in New Ulm.

A pursuit ensued involving six law enforcement agencies. Eventually the male driver was identified and the pursuit terminated for safety reasons.

A half-hour later, the vehicle was spotted in St. James. Officers followed the vehicle until the driver got stuck in a snowbank. The man then fled into a business, where he hid alone in an office.

Officers from the St. James Police Department, Watonwan County sheriff's office and Minnesota State Patrol entered the business.

In a confrontation with the man, officers deployed multiple stun gun rounds before one officer discharged a firearm, striking the suspect. The man was pronounced dead at the St. James hospital.

One of the officers was injured and treated and released from the hospital.

The BCA said a knife was recovered at the scene. The agency also said there was no video footage of the shooting.

The officer who shot the suspect is on standard administrative leave.

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