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St. Peter pair charged after attempting to steal Swan Lake Catholic Church bell

Authorities in Nicollet County have arrested and charged two St. Peter residents for stealing the church bell at the old Swan Lake Catholic Church.
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 3:22 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 11:17 PM CST
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ST. PETER, Minn. (KEYC) — Authorities in Nicollet County have arrested and charged two St. Peter residents for stealing the bell at the old Swan Lake Catholic Church.

The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office reported they were alerted that a large bell was located in the ditch on 501st Avenue, just north of Fort Road in Brighton Township, on Thursday.

A further investigation revealed the bell had been taken from its display area at the old Swan Lake Catholic Church site, located at 49864 Fort Road.

Both the bell and display were found to have sustained extensive damage from the theft.

While responding to the area, a Nicollet County investigator noted a suspicious vehicle in the immediate area pulling an empty trailer. Contact was made with the vehicle’s occupants after the vehicle had driven down a dead-end road to the Peterson Lake Wildlife Management Area.

While the investigator was speaking with the occupants of the vehicle, he noted various tools, straps and ropes in the trailer that were similar to what was left in the area of the stolen bell.

Travis John Carlson, 38, and Tonia Lee Marsh, 41, both of St. Peter, were arrested at the scene.

Investigators also discovered that the two had also burglarized at a garage in the same area that the church bell was stolen from.

Carlson and Marsh were formally charged Friday with felony theft, felony attempted theft, and third-degree burglary. They are both currently being held in the Nicollet County Jail.

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