Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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ELLSWORTH — A gas station just paces away from Pierce County's law enforcement center might not be the most inconspicuous place for a drug deal, but prosecutors allege that's just what a trio of teens did last week. The young men were flanked by officers — including a nine-year veteran of the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force pumping gas into his squad car — who watched them transact the sale of a quarter-pound of marijuana Thursday, March 9, according to charges filed in the case.
An Ellsworth man stole thousands of dollars in sand mine royalties from his father, according to charges filed last month in Pierce County Circuit Court. Richard L. Anderson was charged by summons Feb. 28 with felony theft from a vulnerable adult and receiving more than $10,000 in stolen property. His initial court appearance is set for April 10. According to a criminal complaint:
Two Minnesota men decided the night after the Super Bowl was a prime time to strike poker machines inside a Hager City bar, according to court documents outlining how the men allegedly conspired to commit the burglary. Pierce County prosecutors charged the men, Hastings resident Mark A. Smith and Lakeville resident Robert S. Huber, with burglary and felony criminal property damage. Smith, 30, and Huber, 31, are also charged with misdemeanor theft.
DUNN COUNTY -- A former Ellsworth man told authorities he believed his brother-in-law was about to harm him moments before he fired a fatal shot in the hallway of their Dunn County home late last year. The gunshot left 32-year-old Justin Dale Ogden dead and launched a 10-week investigation into the incident that on Friday resulted in a first-degree reckless homicide charge against Jerad A. Jones. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison.
A Plum City man was hospitalized after being injured Sunday, Jan. 15 in a snowmobile crash. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said 30-year-old Joshua Larson was taken by ambulance to Luther Hospital in Eau Claire after the crash, reported at 12:02 p.m. in the town of Union. According to deputies, Larson was on a snowmobile trail when he lost control and was thrown from the machine. He sustained injuries to his arm and leg, according to a news release.
Editor's note: This story is from January 2017.
The fate of a Prescott woman who gunned down her boyfriend captivated readers in 2016 when her case went to trial last summer in Pierce County. The final resolution of the case saw Rose Marie Kuehni sentenced to probation and jail time on convictions for aggravated battery and hiding a corpse in a Dec. 6 plea deal that prevented a second trial.
A five-day jury trial awaits the 68-year-old Pierce County man accused of running a puppy mill that was raided by authorities in 2016. Stuart E. West was slapped with 125 separate charges after Pierce County sheriff's deputies and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals went to his town of El Paso home in April and found dozens of dogs in squalor-like conditions.
Wisconsin authorities put out an alert Wednesday for suspects in a credit card scam that allegedly involves Walmart stores from Woodbury to Red Wing. According to a St. Croix Falls (Wis.) Police Department announcement, two suspects used cloned credit cards to buy gift cards on Sunday, Dec. 18, at a Walmart there. The suspects have been active in Pierce County and at Walmarts in Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Red Wing, according to police.
Authorities said thieves apparently made off with a $10,000 piece of railroad equipment from a western Wisconsin train depot. According to the Pepin Police Department, a black-and-yellow track horse was stolen between Sept. 22 and Nov. 30 from the BNSF depot in Pepin. A news release states the piece of equipment is a walk-behind implement “used by the railroad to carry, remove and deploy rail spikes.”