WILLMAR -- A 40-year-old rural Montevideo man has been charged with felony theft for taking a herd of Holstein steers from a rural Madison feedlot and selling them as his own cattle at livestock markets in Benson and Pipestone.
Richard Kenneth Nelson was arrested Tuesday after officers from the Lac qui Parle and Chippewa co-unty sheriff's offices and the State Patrol executed a search warrant on a residence along the 6,000 block of 10th Street Northwest.
Nelson made his first court appearance Thursday on the theft charge, plus another felony for receiving stolen property for a stolen John Deere Gator located at the residence. He posted a $20,000 bond and was released, according to the Lac qui Parle County Sheriff's Office.
According to the Lac qui Parle County complaint, the owner of the cattle on Monday reported missing 26 head of steers, weighing between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds. The owner noticed cattle were out and gates moved Sunday, but didn't count the livestock until Monday.
The value of the cattle -- with a market price of $1.15 per pound -- was $40,365. The owner did not have insurance on the livestock.
WEB Li-vestock in Benson and Pipestone Li-vestock Auction were contacted during the investigation. Officials at the Benson location reported they'd sold 12 head Monday, dropped off under the name of Richard Nelson. A check was written to Get Ur Done Trucking and included Nelson's mailing address. The cattle were traced to a slaughterhouse in Green Bay, Wis.
At Pipestone, the investigation revealed 11 head of cattle were dropped off by Richard Nelson of Get Ur Done Trucking of Montevideo. Nelson was identified as the man who unloaded the cattle.
He was interviewed and eventually admitted to selling the steers in Benson and Pipestone. After he was arrested, Nelson produced check stubs and receipts from both sales.
Deputies also located a Bobcat, traced as a skidloader stolen from the Boyd area, at the farm. Nelson claimed a friend from the Twin Cities let him use the machine.
According to the Chippewa County complaint, officers located a 2011 John Deere Gator and a trailer while they were executing the search warrant. The items were reported missing Oct. 31, 2011, in Montevideo. Nelson admitted to being in possession of the utility vehicle and trailer.