St. Peter pair charged after battered church bell discovered in rural ditch

A pair of St. Peter residents were arrested after the discovery of a large bell in a rural road ditch.

The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of the bell Thursday at about 10 a.m. on 501st Ave, north of Fort Rd in Brighton Township.

A press release says the bell had been taken from its display area at the old Swan Lake Catholic Chuch site at 49864 Fort Rd.  Both the bell and the display sustained extensive damage from the theft, according to the release.

Damages to the Swan Lake Catholic Church bell
Investigators say the bell display site was extensively damaged during the theft

Detectives in the area noticed a vehicle pulling an empty trailer and made contact with the occupants when it drove down a dead-end road to the Peterson Lake Wildlife Management Area.  Investigators say they noticed various tools, straps, and ropes in the trailer that were similar to what was left in the area of the stolen bell as they spoke to the occupants.

Travis Carlson, Nicollet County Jail

Police say Travis John Carlson, 38, of St. Peter, and Tonia Lee Marsh, 41, of St. Peter, were arrested at the scene.  The sheriff’s office says Carlson and Marsh also burglarized a garage near the area the church bell was stolen.

Carlson and Marsh are charged with felony theft, felony attempted theft, and burglary.  They are currently in custody at the Nicollet County Jail.


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