Man charged with possession of stolen trailer

Published 6:07 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

An Austin man allegedly seen driving a truck towing a stolen trailer and a stolen bike in the bed made his first appearance on Friday in Mower County District Court.

Justin Thomas Rios, 31, has been charged with felony receiving stolen property.

Justin Thomas Rios, 31

According to the court complaint, a gray/white enclosed trailer valued at $10,000 with black spray-painted graffiti on the side was reported stolen from Cornerstone Church on Aug. 26. Later that day, the reporting party told police he received information about a surveillance photo regarding a stolen bicycle from a friend and the Hollandale Happenings Facebook page.  The photo was from a business in the City of Hollandale and showed the stolen trailer at the location earlier in the day. The reporting party said he located the truck that was pulling the trailer in the 400 block of 16th Avenue Southwest and was told Rios lived at the residence.

An officer went to the residence and located the suspect vehicle, a red 2019 Chevrolet Silverado with a Minnesota licence plate that later came back as belonging to a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado. The stolen bicycle was in the bed of the truck. The truck was registered to an Owatonna resident, but the VIN correlated to a New Mexico license plate.The officer was granted a search warrant and had the truck towed to the Mower County Law Enforcement Center.

A witness told police she saw a red truck pulling an enclosed trailer with graffiti on the side at about 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Ankeny’s gas station on 12th Street Southwest. Another witness told police he observed the stolen trailer while working in Hollandale. He described it as having graffiti on the passenger side and being towed by a red Chevrolet truck.

Police contacted the reporting party, who said a portable baptism tank valued at $5,000 and several other items were inside the trailer. Police executed a search warrant on the truck and located several items, valued at more than $1,000, that were reported inside the stolen trailer. They also located several documents belonging to Rios and an adult female, including a “car bill of sale” stating that Rios had purchased the truck from the woman on May 20.

A detective reviewed surveillance footage taken on Aug. 26 at the Three in One gas station in Hollandale. The footage showed the Chevrolet Silverado arrive at the gas station with the stolen trailer at 11:59 a.m. Rios, who was driving, was seen getting out of the vehicle to pump gas while the adult female was seen exiting the passenger side and going into the business. When she returned, Rios then drove the truck, stopping briefly to steal the bicycle and place it in the bed of the truck, then drove off to the north.

A review of Rios’s criminal record shows prior convictions for theft, domestic assault and violating a domestic abuse no contact order.

Rios will appear in court again on Oct. 7.