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St. Paul man follows stolen snowblower's tracks straight to thief

  • Article by: Chao Xiong
  • Star Tribune
  • April 16, 2014 - 9:16 PM

The Coen brothers couldn’t have written a more Minnesotan crime plot if they tried:

A St. Paul man woke up Jan. 4 to find his Toro snowblower missing from his garage. But all he had to do to find out who allegedly stole it was follow its tracks — in the snow — across the street to a neighbor’s house on the city’s West Side.

The snowblower’s rightful owner called police, who found his machine along with his Craftsman air compressor and a Black and Decker battery charger, at the neighbor’s house, according to charges filed Tuesday.

Daniel A. Giles, 22, of St. Paul, faces one count of third-degree burglary in Ramsey County District Court over the snowblower theft.

According to the complaint:

The homeowner noticed the door to his garage, which is shared with a downstairs neighbor, open at 3:30 a.m. He shut the door. At 8:40 a.m., he saw the “small” tire tracks and followed them across the street.

Police spoke to the neighbor across the street and his nephew, Giles, who initially lied about his identity. Authorities later learned that during that same morning Giles allegedly tried to break into a SuperAmerica located a half-mile from his uncle’s home.

Under subsequent questioning by police, Giles denied stealing the snowblower and blamed his uncle’s upstairs neighbors for the crime.

Giles was also charged Tuesday with attempted second-degree burglary in the SuperAmerica incident. Video showed a man matching Giles using a tool in an attempt to enter the store at 577 S. Smith Av. and then deliver several kicks to the glass door.

Giles was also charged Tuesday with motor vehicle theft for allegedly taking a Chevrolet Equinox between 11 p.m. April 11 and 9:20 a.m. April 12. The vehicle was involved in a rollover accident at Interstate 94 and Hwy. 52 shortly before midnight on April 13. Two men fled the scene, Police arrested Giles and another man nearby. Giles matched the suspect’s description, the complaint said.

An iPhone recovered at the crash scene was traced to Giles.

A driver who was sideswiped by the stolen vehicle before the rollover identified Giles as the driver. Giles told police that he was a passenger. He also said that he and two friends in the car were drinking and smoking weed.


Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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