A trail camera video and an attentive gas station attendant led to the capture and arrest of two men accused of committing a series of hunting equipment thefts in Stevens and Grant Counties over the last week.
According to a report from the Stevens County Sheriff's Department, Jason Lashinski, 20, and Jordan Skroch, 18, both of Holdingford, Minn., were arrested and charged in Stevens County with two counts of felony theft, tampering with a motor vehicle and 4th degree criminal damage to property as a result of the incidents.
Deputies got a lead on the suspects after their car - a mid-2000s black pickup truck - was caught on a trail camera near where two tree stands were stolen, the report states.
Lashinski and Skroch were apprehended after buying a pizza and other items at a Cenex station in Herman but without paying for their gas. The gas station attendant was able to get a description of the vehicle and the vehicle's personalized license plate - GOOSMAN - before the men drove away.
A Minnesota state trooper stopped the vehicle just north of the Stevens County line later that evening.
According to the criminal complaint, when Lashinski was told he was being stopped because of recent information regarding his involvement in multiple thefts from vehicles, Lashinski "seemed unfazed and stated, 'OK.'" When Lashinski was told that he had been captured on trail cameras when removing the tree stands, he replied that he wanted to return the property and did not want to get in trouble.
When interviewed by sheriff's deputies, Lashinski said he and Skroch had started stealing equipment on Oct. 8, 2011 from open and locked trucks in Stevens and Grant Counties while their owners were out hunting.
According to the report, the men are accused of stealing shotgun shells, a gun case, coats, multiple pairs of binoculars, two pairs of hunting boots, a gun cleaning kit, a video-camera and camera bag, a Mojo baby drake and hen decoys, mosquito repellant, a GPS and a tool kit.
Lashinski also told deputies that he and Skroch had been out driving when they saw the tree stands, which they decided they needed, the report states. At the time of their arrest, both men said the stands were in Holdingford, the report states.
When they were arrested, both men were wearing some of the stolen hunting equipment. A search warrant for Lashinski's truck, an RV and an enclosed trailer also led to recovery of some of the missing equipment, the report said.
Both Lashinski and Skroch have made their first court appearances and have been released.