Tricounty News

Decker investigation; copper wire theft; stolen car found stuck in snow; local crime blotters



Update on Officer Decker murder

A special diving team from New York assisted the FBI in Cold Spring Monday, Dec, 17, searching for any evidence that may be found in the Sauk River. They hoped to be done with their search by the end of the day Tuesday. 


A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker. Witnesses reported a black van or mini-van with a loud exhaust system leaving the parking lot shortly after Officer Decker was shot. Anyone with information regarding this crime is encouraged to call the BCA at (877) 996-6222 or the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 251-4240.  

Tuesday, Dec. 18, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann introduced legislation to have the Cold Spring Post Office renamed “Officer Tommy Decker Memorial Post Office” in his memory. All other seven members of Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation signed on to the legislation as original co-sponsors.  

Copper wire theft in Forest City Township

Monday, Dec. 17, at 9:54 a.m., the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office took a theft report of copper wire that was located in a field off of Highway 24 near 650th Avenue, in Forest City Township. The property owner had recently replaced his irrigation system and had
10 sections of the old irrigator in his field on the south side of Highway 24 near 650th Avenue.


Sometime over the weekend between Dec. 15 and 17, is when the theft occurred. Approximately 850 feet of 1/2” diameter copper wire, which contained 10 individual copper wires inside of 10-gauge wire, and 850 feet of electrical
12-2 wire was taken off of the irrigation system. The approximate value of wire taken was $4,000.


Sheriff Jeff Norlin advises everyone to continue to call the Sheriff’s Office or your local police department if you see suspicious persons or vehicles, especially in areas where theft of copper, or scrap items may be. This includes areas where new construction may be occurring as well, power lines, pole replacement, or trenching operations may be occurring. Sheriff Norlin also adds that calling 911 in these situations is an appropriate use of the 911 system.

Stolen car found, stuck in snow

Sunday, Dec. 16, at 12:53 a.m., the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a stolen vehicle from the address of 150 Meeker Avenue North in the City of Watkins. The caller, Richard Reikofski, 39, of Watkins, reported that his vehicle was stolen and he had located it in front of lot #30 in the Watkins Trailer Park stuck in a snow bank.

When law enforcement arrived, it was determined that Reikofski was driving through the trailer park when he saw a vehicle, a 1993 Mazda 626, that he thought looked like his. At this time Reikofski returned to his residence and saw that his car was no longer at his residence at which time he returned to the vehicle.

Bradley Hamilton, 26, of Watkins, was in the driver’s side of the vehicle and was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Hamilton was transported to the Meeker County Jail and is being held, pending his first court appearance. The Eden Valley Police Department also assisted at the scene.

Swede Grove Township crash

Wednesday, Dec. 12, at
9:25 a.m., the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Patrol, Grove City Fire Department, Grove City Rescue, and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to a two-vehicle personal injury accident at the intersection of County State Aid Highway 16 and MN Highway 4, in Swede Grove Township.


James Whitcomb, 44 years old, of Paynesville, was driving a 2004 Ford minivan and collided with a 1996 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Rob Pederson, 52 years old, of Litchfield. Prior to the accident James Whitcomb was traveling East on County State Aid Highway 16 and struck the pickup truck which was traveling North on Highway 4. Nicole Christianson, 23 years old, of Minneapolis; Brenda Pederson, 51 years old, of Litchfield; Lori Christianson,
50 years old, of Litchfield; and Stephanie Pederson, 22 years old, of Litchfield, were passengers of the pickup driven by Rob Pederson.


Rob Pederson and Stephanie Pederson were transported by Gold Cross Ambulance to Meeker Memorial Hospital for treatment. 

The crash is currently under investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol. 




Watkins crime blotter (Meeker County Sheriff’s Office)

There were a total of 33 Watkins calls for the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office during November 2012 (as compared with about 60 in October). Among these calls were 7 traffic stops (3 warnings, 4 citations), 3 suspicious person/vehicles, 3 medicals, 2 thefts,
2 warrants, 2 child abuse/maltreatment calls, 2 disturbances, and one each of the following: 911 hang-up, abandoned/stalled vehicle, check welfare, civil complaint, person under the influence, property-damage accident, tampering with motor vehicles, unwanted individual, and violation of order for protection.


Wright County Sheriff’s Office

Dec. 12, Ahmed A Nur, 29 of
St. Cloud, was arrested in Annandale on the charges of terroristic threats and criminal damage to property.


Dec. 14, Nathan Walter Buranen, 21 of Annandale, was arrested in Annandale on a Stearns County warrant for criminal damage to property.

Dec. 16, Eric John Pitzl, 32 of South Haven, was arrested in Buffalo on the charges of domestic assault and interference with a 911 call.

There were 6 property-damage accidents, 2 personal-injury accidents, 1 hit-and-run accident, and 15 car-deer accidents.

There were 9 arrests for DWI,
2 school bus stop-arm violations, and 39 tickets for miscellaneous traffic violations issued this week.


Meeker County Sheriff’s Office

Monday, Dec. 17

12:08 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance, per the request of Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, for a medical at a residence on Spruce Avenue West, City of Kimball. One individual was transported to the St Cloud Hospital.

Sunday, December 16

8:50 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance for a medical on Carnelian Road in
Stearns County. One individual was transported to the St Cloud Hospital.


3:20 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office located a vehicle in the ditch in the area of 667th Avenue and Glenshire Blvd North, Forest Prairie Township. Santiago Nava, age 29, from Mexico, was arrested for no Minnesota driver’s license.

Saturday, December 15

7:40 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office took a report of a vehicle in the ditch in the area of 650th Street and MN Highway 24, Forest City Township. There were no injuries reported. The information was referred to the MN State Patrol.

11:43 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance, per
Stearns County, to Powder Ridge Ski Hill in Kimball, for a medical. One individual was transported to the St. Cloud Hospital.


Friday, December 14

8:52 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Eden Valley Rescue and Watkins Ambulance to a medical at BI Performance Services, Meeker Avenue East, Eden Valley. One individual was transported to Meeker Memorial Hospital.

5:51 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office took a report of a custody dispute at a residence on County State Aid Highway 2, Forest Prairie Township.

6:21 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a car/deer accident near a residence on County State Aid Highway 34, Forest City Township. The deputy checked the area and removed the remaining deer carcass and there was no longer a hazard in the roadway.

10:44 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a person out of control at a residence on 340th Street, Manannah Township. Deputies arrived and after investigation arrested Michael John Kampa, age 31, of Foley, for possible charges of third-Degree Driving While Intoxicated, fifth-Degree Domestic Assault, fifth-Degree Assault, Child Endangerment, and Disorderly Conduct. A report was also filed.

Thursday, December 13

1:01 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a cellular 9-1-1 call in regards to an accident at the intersection of MN Highway 15 and MN Highway 55, Kimball.  The caller was transferred to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

3:45 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to an alarm at Centra-Sota, 3rd Street North, Watkins.  The deputy was canceled prior to arrival as it was a false alarm.

10:02 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance, per the request of Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, for a medical at a residence on Hidden Lane, Fairhaven Township. One individual was assisted at the scene.

Wednesday, December 12

2:21 p.m. a Sheriff’s Deputy assisted by pushing a vehicle out of the snow near the intersection of 1st Street and Central Avenue, Watkins.

5:47 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office responded to an alarm at CentraSota, 3rd Street North, Watkins.  The deputy was canceled prior to arrival as it was a false alarm.

6:10 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office assisted the Minn. State Patrol near a residence on MN Highway 22, Manannah Township, where an individual hit an object on the roadway causing damage to his vehicle.

6:12 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received an alarm at CentraSota, 3rd Street North, Watkins. The deputy was canceled prior to arrival as it was a false alarm.

7:21 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office took a report of unsafe conditions at a residence on 1st Street, Watkins.  The deputy found everything to be okay at the residence.

Tuesday, December 11

4:32 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Eden Valley Rescue and Watkins Ambulance to a medical at a residence on Colman Avenue East in Eden Valley. One individual was transported to the Paynesville Hospital.

2:09 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance to a medical at a residence on Magnus Johnson Street North, Kimball.  One individual was transported to the Buffalo Hospital.

5:53 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office assisted an individual at a residence in the Watkins Trailer Park in Watkins.

6:08 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office dispatched Watkins Ambulance to a medical in on Main Street South in Kimball. One individual was transported to the St. Cloud Hospital.

7:55 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office checked on a fire at a residence on County State Aid Highway 34 in Forest Prairie Township. The deputy found everything to be okay.  Their burning permit was activated.

Monday, December 10

3:36 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received snowmobile complaint in the Watkins Trailer Park, Watkins. The deputy checked and the snowmobiles were no longer in the area.

11:04 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received the report of one vehicle in the ditch on MN Highway 15 near the intersection of 240th Street in Dassel Township. The owner of the vehicle reported that he would have it moved the following day.  The vehicle was not a hazard.