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Stolen Property Recovered After Tip

By Staff | Dec 31, 2007

A tip regarding a suspicious vehicle and individuals at a rural Graettinger residence led to the arrest of two men and the solution of theft in Kossuth County. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office says 37-year old Thomas John Hughes of Terril and 55-year old Rodney William Finnestad of Emmetsburg were taken into custody following the incident on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 26.

According to Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Todd Suhr, a report of a suspicious vehicle with two occupants was made to the sheriff’s office by the owner of the property, located at 3043 420th Avenue, south of Graettinger.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ted Foxhoven responded to the location and upon arrival, found one of the vehicle occupants had fled on foot, and was later identified as Rodny William Finnestad. The owner of the vehicle, Thomas John Hughes, was located with the vehicle at the location.

Deputy Foxhoven tracked Finnestad approximately a half-mile across a field before taking Finnestad into custody.

In further investigation, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia were found on Finnestad.

As the investigation into the incident continued to unfold, it was discovered that the two men were at the acreage, allegedly committing a burglary, and were also in possession of approximately $100,000 worth of aluminum concrete forms which had been reported stolen from a work site near Fenton in Kossuth County.

That theft occurred sometime after Dec. 21. During the theft, a 1981 International flat bed truck had also been taken from the construction site. Palo Alto County deputies obtained information regarding the location of the missing truck, and contacted the Clay County Sheriff’s Office with that information. Clay County deputies then located the missing truck at a location in Gillett Grove. After its recovery, the truck, valued at $6,000, was returned to Emmetsburg to be impounded and examined for forensic evidence. Additionally, the vehicle driven by Thomas Hughes at the time of his apprehension was also impounded by deputies as part of the investigation.

Officers allege that Finnestad and Hughes were attempting to scrap the aluminum forms at the location south of Graettinger when they were apprehended on Wednesday afternoon.

Following their arrests, both Hughes and Finnestad were transported to the Palo Alto County Jail in Emmetsburg where they were booked to await court appearances on a number of charges.

Rodney William Finnestad was charged with First Degree Possession of Stolen Property, a Class C Felony; Burglary in the Third Degree, a Class D Felony; Trespassing, a Simple Misdemeanor; Third Offense Possession of Methamphetamine and Third Offense Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Thomas John Hughes was charged with First Degree Possession of Stolen Property, a Class C Felony; Burglary in the Third Degree, a Class D Felony and Trespassing, a Simple Misdemeanor.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation into this case, along with the Kossuth and Clay County Sheriff’s Offices. Additional arrests in the case are anticipated by authorities.

Troopers of the Iowa State Patrol assisted the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office at the scene on Wednesday afternoon.