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DL man gets 21 months for felony theft

Nathaniel Paul Knutson, 32, of rural Detroit Lakes has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for felony theft and felony possession of shoplifting tools.

Two other felony charges — second-degree burglary and possession of shoplifting tools — were dismissed in a plea agreement.

According to court records, on Feb. 25, 2017, he was one of three men who entered Walmart in Detroit Lakes, took several items, and cut a chain on the garden center entrance, leaving with over $500 in merchandise.

A Detroit Lakes police officer looking at a still photo of the theft recognized Knutson and his vehicle. He was previously convicted of burglary in 2013.

In a separate incident, on April 9 a resident called Detroit Lakes police about a burglary in progress at a Detroit Lakes apartment complex. Knutson, wearing a black jacket, black hat and blue jeans, was running away from the resident, who was chasing him and using his cell phone to update police on his location.

The resident caught Knutson inside the apartment building, and asked him how he got in. Knutson said the resident of apartment 104 had buzzed him in. The resident told him 104 was vacant, and asked to see what was inside his black canvas bag. Knutson refused to open the bag, and tried to flee the scene.

Officers later found the bag contained a drill bit, a red bold cutter, and a Black & Decker drill. An officer also retrieved a flathead screwdriver that Knutson had stomped into the snow to conceal.

Knutson appeared in court Nov. 21 before Becker County District Judge Jay Carlson, who sentenced him on the first charge to 21 months in prison at St. Cloud. He was fined $50 plus $215 in court fees and $513 in restitution.

On the second charge he was sentenced to 20 months in prison at St. Cloud, and was fined $50 plus $215 in court fees.