Local man faces 10 felony charges related to alleged theftThe case of a Wrenshall man accused of stealing from his neighbor in March 2009 is still working its way through Carlton County Court. Steven Michael Ermatinger, 46, has been charged with four counts of felony theft, four counts of receiving stolen property and two counts of burglary: one for first-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon and one for second-degree burglary of a dwelling.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
The case of a Wrenshall man accused of stealing from his neighbor in March 2009 is still working its way through Carlton County Court.
Steven Michael Ermatinger, 46, has been charged with four counts of felony theft, four counts of receiving stolen property and two counts of burglary: one for first-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon and one for second-degree burglary of a dwelling.
Ermatinger’s attorney, public defender Jeremy Downs, requested Judge Robert Macaulay grant him two weeks to make written arguments on the issue of probable cause during a contested omnibus last Thursday, May 5, noting that he particularly objected to the burglary charges. Burglary means that a person enters a building without consent and with the intent to commit a crime, such as theft.
According to the criminal complaint, Ermatinger had been entrusted by his neighbor to watch over her house and animals whenever she was away. After some time, the woman realized she was missing a number of items, including two shotguns, a rifle, a diamond cluster pendant, a diamond and sapphire ring and a diamond solitaire ring, along with up to $4,500 in cash and other items. The woman also told deputies that she did not usually lock her doors.
When Carlton County Deputy Mike Soderstrom and Investigator Dan Danielson ran pawn queries for Ermatinger’s name with all northeastern Minnesota pawnshops, they found that he had pawned all three of his neighbor’s firearms in the weeks preceding her call to law enforcement. They also found his name associated with the pawning of a diamond and sapphire ring at a local pawn shop, a ring the alleged victim later confirmed was hers.
According to the criminal complaint, when Soderstrom spoke to Ermatinger about the stolen items, he admitted to pawning the items, but claimed he had found both the firearms and the jewelry underneath a tree in his neighbor’s yard. He admitted to taking the items from under the tree, but apparently did not admit to entering her home.
“I wasn’t aware of any dispute that he did enter the house,” said Prosecuting Attorney Mike Boese Thursday, noting that the property had to get from inside the victim’s home somehow. “… A jury can find guilt or innocence based on a reasonable inference of the facts.”
Downs entered a provisional “not guilty” plea for Ermatinger Thursday, while Judge Macaulay gave the defense attorney until May 20 to craft his written arguments. He then allowed the prosecuting attorney another seven days to respond to those arguments.