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Atwater teen faces theft charges for stealing snowmobile on Christmas

WILLMAR -- An Atwater teen made his first court appearance Tuesday on two felony theft charges for allegedly stealing a snowmobile from a rural Atwater residence and leaving it stuck in a drainage ditch.

According to the complaint against 18-year-old Michael James Lish, he and an accomplice first unloaded the stolen 1997 Polaris and an inoperable Arctic Cat snowmobile from a trailer, left to get appropriate snowmobile gear and returned to steal the Polaris on Dec. 25.

Unconditional bail was set at $5,000 with conditional release al-lowed on his personal re-cognizance. Lish's next appearance is Feb. 22 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

The complaint says that a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy was called on Dec. 26 to the rural residence near Atwater.

On the way, the deputy spotted a black Polaris stuck in a drainage ditch along County Road 4. The owner of the sled positively identified the snowmobile as the one stolen from his place.

The deputy took photos of the footprints in the snow on the place and near where the snowmobile was recovered. Another person, identified in the complaint by initials, told a Willmar police officer that "Mike" had taken the snowmobile and got it stuck. He said Mike lived at an apartment building in Atwater.

On Dec. 27 a detective went to the building and matched the tread of boots found outside of Lish's apartment to those in the photos taken by the deputy.

Lish was interviewed and allegedly admitted that he and the other person walked to the rural residence twice, the first time they unloaded the snowmobiles and the second time they returned with snowmobile gear so that he could ride the one snowmobile away.

The other person said that they also took a gas can, which he later returned to the Sheriff's Office.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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