The theft of a construction trailer and the equipment inside—worth more than $40,000—from a Chetek frac sand mine has led to the arrest of two men, while a third remains wanted by police.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that Quinlan Thomas, 56, of rural Chetek, and Zachary Sexton, 37, of Ridgeland, were arrested on Monday, Jan. 11, as search warrants were served at their residences, following investigations into the trailer theft.
A third suspect, David Haseltine, 36, of rural Cameron, was not home at the time of the search warrant, and he was now on the run as several warrants have been issued for his arrest, Fitzgerald said.
On Thursday morning, Jan. 7, a construction company called police to say that someone had stolen a 6-by-12-foot enclosed trailer. The construction company was doing work at a rural Chetek mine to reclaim the land. Sometime during the night, someone stole the trailer that contained more than $40,000 worth of equipment, including high-tech GPS antennas used with earth moving machinery, dispatch logs said.
On Friday, Jan. 8, an anonymous tipster called police about a stolen trailer, dispatch logs said. The tipster said a man told them the trailer was stolen, or “hot” and that he was taking it to an address.
The trailer was recovered by investigators on Jan. 8, but the equipment was missing. Further investigations led to three search warrant raids on Monday.
The first search warrant took place at Sexton’s residence at E5973 1370th Ave., near Ridgeland, in Dunn County. The search was conducted by Barron County Sheriff’s Department with assistance from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office.
Sexton was taken into custody and booked in the Barron County Jail with a theft charge.
Later on Monday evening, two simultaneous search warrants were conducted by the Barron/Rusk Emergency Response Team in rural Chetek and rural Cameron.
Quinlan Thomas was located at his residence at 2342 Seventh Ave., west of Chetek. He was arrested and was currently in the Barron County Jail. Thomas was booked on a charge of receiving stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of steroids and three counts of bail jumping.
The other search warrant was served on a trailer on CTH OO near 20th Street. Fitzgerald said the trailer did not have a fire number. Haseltine was not located during the searches.
Fitzgerald said anyone with information on Haseltine’s whereabouts should contact the Barron County Sheriff’s Department at 715-537-3106.
Fitzgerald said all the missing equipment had been recovered.
Formal charges from the Barron County District Attorney’s Office had not yet been filed against Thomas or Sexton in Barron County Circuit Court as of press time on Jan. 12.
Thomas has two open cases from 2017 and 2018. He was accused in 2017 of selling methamphetamine from his Chetek real estate office after police allegedly conducted four controlled buys from Thomas at that location. A search of Thomas’ office and house allegedly turned up a small amount of narcotics.
In 2018, Thomas was charged with possession with intent after he and a co-defendant allegedly purchased seven grams of methamphetamine from a police informant. According to court documents, during the drug buy Thomas told the informant that he would sell the drugs and then have money to buy more.
Both cases were still open and scheduled for a jury trial on April 21.