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Published Dec. 23, 2017: Paynesville man charged with burglary, escaping custody


MONTEVIDEO — A Paynesville man, who in 2006 was charged with burning down the Monson Lumber Company in Hawick, is back in court, this time for burglary, theft and escaping from custody.

Gregory Allen Scheel, 33, has been charged with two felony counts of first-degree burglary, a felony count of third-degree burglary, a misdemeanor charge of theft and a gross misdemeanor charge of escaping from custody.

According to court documents, Scheel was initially arrested Dec. 19 after a caller reported to the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office a suspicious vehicle parked one mile south of the intersection of County Roads 13 and 35. The deputy who arrived at the scene reported the trunk of the vehicle was open and that there were numerous items outside the trunk. The individual with the vehicle was identified as Scheel.

The deputy noticed a Kohl's box in the back of the vehicle, the documents said. Earlier that day, a report had been made of the theft of a Kohl's box from a residence on the 1000 block of 85th Avenue Northwest in Chippewa County. The Kohl's box in Scheel's car was partly open and the deputy could see a package of baby teethers, which had reportedly been in the box that have been taken, court documents said. When the package was inspected more closely, it was found to be the box that had been taken from the residence.

The report said that while Scheel at first refused to speak with the deputy after being read his Miranda rights, Scheel later admitted to stealing the package, saying "it was stupid of me."

When at the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office around 9 p.m. that day, as Scheel was being led to the jail to be properly booked, Scheel took off, escaping through an unsecured staff door and out the lobby door, court documents said. Law enforcement chased after Scheel, but lost him in the dark.

The next morning, at 6:55 a.m. Dec. 20, the Sheriff's Office got a call of an unwanted person in a garage at a home at the 500 block of North 10th Street in Montevideo. The unwanted person was found to be Scheel, who was detained by law enforcement.

A search of the area in the garage where Scheel was hiding uncovered dentures, a folding knife and a piece of wood trim that had been made into what looked like a weapon, the report said. The trim had two metal construction spikes taped to it, with the sharp ends pointing out. An electrical cord had been cut so the wires could be wrapped around the metal spikes.

The police report said the cord could then presumably be plugged in to electrify the metal spikes, which could then possibly be used to stab and electrocute someone.

The owner of the residence where Scheel was found said the item was not his.

Scheel also reportedly changed clothes while in the garage, taking items from the property owner. Scheel's clothing was found in one of the property owner's duffle bags in the garage. Also in the bag were miscellaneous tools and food that had been removed from care boxes in the garage that were supposed to go to the property owner's church, documents said.

Scheel's bail was set at $75,000 with conditions or $100,000 without conditions. Conditions include not possessing firearms or ammunition, not possessing or using alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, not entering bars or liquor stores and having no contact with the alleged victims.

As of Friday afternoon, Scheel was still in custody at the Chippewa County Jail.

Scheel is next due in court on Jan. 2 for his initial appearance.

In the 2006 case stemming from the destruction of the lumber company, Scheel was originally charged with second-degree arson, second-degree burglary and theft. In a plea agreement, the arson charge was dropped and Scheel was sentenced to 28 months in prison on the burglary and theft convictions. He was also ordered to pay $72,185 in restitution to the owners of Monson Lumber.