Garage starts on fire near Dexter

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 3, 2003

ELKTON -- A second Midwest Wireless communications tower has been vandalized.

The damage estimate is the same as the earlier one reported to the Mower County Sheriff's Office: $10,000.

According to a sheriff's department report, a technician checked the tower Dec. 20 after reports of poor service by customers.

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The tower is located near Elkton along Interstate 90 near the intersection of Mower County Highway Nos. 59 and 13.

When the technician investigated, he found a cable shot twice by larger-caliber bullets.

In late-November, Midwest Wireless reported a similar act of vandalism at a tower it owns near Lansing.

Drug manufacturing materials discovered

A citizen discovered materials used in the manufacture of methamphetamine drugs.

In what the Austin Police Department reports was a large amount of the materials, the man fund them in a Dumpster behind the abandoned Rainbow Foods supermarket in northwest Austin.

Empty cold remedy packets, coffee filters, sliced open batteries, hoses and other items were found in the Dumpster.

Garage destroyed

DEXTER -- Thomas Draeger awoke early Wednesday to discover a garage on fire at his residence at 29530 660th Ave.

According to a Mower County Sheriff's Department report, Draeger reported the emergency at 5:14 a.m. Wednesday.

When the Dexter Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene, the building was engulfed in flames, according to a Mower County Sheriff's Office report.

Draeger told investigators, he was burning on a gas stove in the building Tuesday night and woke up the following morning, when he heard a "large boom."

Mailboxes smashed

The Mower County Sheriff's Office is investigating a series of vandalism to mailboxes on Tuesday.

According to several victims' reports, the incidents all occurred overnight Tuesday and were discovered Wednesday morning.

The incidents occurred along 550th Avenue north of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center at the east edge of Austin.

Anyone seeing suspicious vehicles or unusual activity in the area on New Year's Eve is asked to contact the sheriff's department

at 437-9400.

Charges dropped

Mower County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Terese Amazi said charges have been dropped against two female passengers in a car stopped for narcotics violations a week ago.

The charges were ordered to be dismissed by Mower County Attorney-elect Patrick W. Flanagan.

Megan Gerhardt, 18, and Laura Delaney, 19, both of Austin, were originally charged with controlled substance crimes in connection with the incident.

Still charged is a third passenger, Jesse DeVriendt, 23 of Austin, and the driver of the vehicle, Timothy Isaac Schmidt, 20 of Austin.

Mower County Sheriff's Department deputy Bruce Huemann observed a suspicious vehicle leave a Lyle residence early Dec. 27. When the deputy followed, the car attempted to elude the deputy, according to reports. The pursued vehicle gained speed and ignored the deputy's lights and sirens until it came to a halt in southwest Austin, according to the deputy's report.

The driver attempted to flee the deputy, but was caught nearby after a foot chase. The three passengers remained in the car and were taken into custody at the scene.

The deputy observed drugs thrown from the vehicle, during the pursuit. A search revealed quantities of methamphetamine drugs and drug paraphernalia in roadside ditches and inside the car, according to the Sheriff's Office report.