MANKATO — A man who was allegedly attempting to steal aluminum molds from a Mankato business is facing a felony assault charge for allegedly driving his pickup at a man who attempted to stop him.
The owner of Earth Sheltered Technology called police at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday to report the incident. He said he had confronted the man in the pickup before the man revved his engine and drove toward him.
When the victim arrived at work at about 7 a.m. Tuesday, the pickup was in the parking lot but no one was inside it. He told police he was outside having a cigarette at about 8:40 a.m. when he saw the suspect back the pickup toward a fence behind his business. The man said he saw the suspect inside the fence tossing aluminum concrete forms into the back of the pickup.
One of the forms was in mid-air when the owner yelled at the suspect, who quickly ran through the fence, got into the pickup and told the owner to get the (expletive) out of the way, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday. The victim said he had to jump out of the way of the pickup to avoid being hit.
The owner estimated he was missing about 15 to 20 of the aluminum forms, which are about 18 feet long. He estimated each form was worth $100. It’s not uncommon for thieves to steal aluminum, copper and other valuable metals to sell for scrap at a fraction of their value.
The victim also was able to give the officer a license plate number for the pickup. Using that number, the officer was able to identify 27-year-old Travis John Olson as the owner. When the officer showed Olson’s driver’s license picture to the business owner, he immediately identified Olson as the man who had allegedly taken the aluminum, the complaint said.
A salvage yard worker said Olson had been there the day before selling scrap metal. The officer drove to Olson’s house in the 2000 block of Seventh Avenue and found him outside.
Olson initially denied being at the business but later admitted to being in the area. He told the officer he actually went behind the business to urinate when “some guy came out and freaked out,” the complaint said. He then denied doing anything wrong and told the officer he just drove away without incident.
Olson’s bail was set at $60,000 when he appeared in court for felony charges of second-degree assault and theft. He pleaded guilty to charges of theft and receiving stolen property for two unrelated incidents last year and was sentenced to a total of about seven months in jail.
He has faced criminal charges 16 times in four different counties, not including more than a dozen traffic offenses, since 2003.