Woman collecting rocks charged with burglary

Published 10:22 am Friday, April 8, 2016

A woman who told police she was collecting rocks near a farm in Dexter now faces burglary and drug charges.

Melissa Gail Daily, 36, of Faribault was charged in Mower County court Thursday with third-degree burglary and possession of burglary or theft tools, both felonies; second-degree DWI and refusing to submit to chemical test, a gross misdemeanor; and theft, a misdemeanor.

She was arrested with Garrett Wade Grassel, 38, who was found while trying to eat snow. He pleaded not guilty to felony third-degree burglary, felony possession of burglary or theft tools and misdemeanor theft on March 17.

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Mower County deputies responded to a burglary in progress at a farm located at the intersection of County Road 2 and 640th Avenue in Dexter Township at about noon on March 4.

The caller said he was following a suspect north on 640th Avenue and another suspect was on foot.

Deputies learned a red 1995 Saturn SL2 was circling the area and found Daily about half a mile from the scene, then saw her driving north.

Daily told deputies she was lost and trying to find Brownsdale. She denied being with anyone else, but she appeared to be under the influence of drugs, according to the report.

Meanwhile, deputies were directed to a windmill driveway and saw footprints in the snow, which led to Grassel lying in a ditch. He appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and said he was lying in the ditch because he was thirsty and wanted to eat snow. A knife and flashlight were removed from his pockets.

Grassel, who claimed he had been assaulted by the caller, was trying to run away and the caller questioned him about where he was coming from and tried to swing a bolt cutter at him. He said he wanted the caller arrested for “attempted assault,” according to the complaint.

Grassel said his car broke down and he was kicked out of the car by his girlfriend after a fight.

Deputies brought him to the scene of the burglary to meet with the caller and other deputies. The caller said he did not assault Grassel and no bolt cutters were found in his truck.

Daily changed to her story when she was told that Grassel told police his car broke down and he was kicked out of the car by his girlfriend after a fight. Daily then said she “collected rocks” and that’s why she stopped in the area.

Deputies searched the Saturn and found four flashlights, four pry bars, a Minnesota map and a scrap metal receipt in Grassel’s name. The receipt was dated March 4 for eight pounds of electric motors.

Two sets of footprints were found on the property near a machine shed. Officers learned later the footprints matched Daily and Grassel.

The footprints led from the road to two storage containers, a house and a pole shed, all which had open doors. Officers found a door to the machine shed had been pried open, with a blue container that held several electric motors, along with three electric box motors, placed outside recently with no snow on them. Officers followed boot prints from the shed to a ditch near 640th Avenue where they found a metal tub with more electric motors.

Daily and Grassel were taken to jail.

An Austin squad car video camera had caught Grassel walking from the property to a parked car on the side of the road earlier that day.

Daily’s next court appearance is April 21.