A Douglas County man is facing a felony charge of operating a snowmobile without the owner’s consent after an incident earlier this month on the Wild Rivers Trail north of Rice Lake, according to a charge filed Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Barron County Circuit Court.
The defendant, identified as 28-year-old Devin A. Long, W8536 Nancy Lake Road, Minong, was allegedly standing near a disabled and stolen snowmobile Jan. 14 when he was met by a Barron County Sheriff’s deputy and a Department of Natural Resources conservation warden when they found a disabled snowmobile.
The defendant allegedly said he had borrowed the 2002 Arctic Cat ZR500, but claimed someone else was operating it when it broke down -- even though no one else was in the vicinity when law enforcement spoke with him.
The deputy noticed there was no key in the ignition of the machine and it “appeared to have been broken by something forced into the ignition cylinder.”
The deputy ran a records check, found the name of the registered owner of the machine, and left him a voice mail. Later that day, the owner reported the snowmobile had been stolen from some storage units in Rice Lake.
The owner said the snowmobile had a radiator leak, so he parked it next to the storage shed so it wouldn’t leak fluid on the floor of the shed. He later estimated the cost of the machine at $1,500, and he said the damage to the motor would be significant if anyone had ridden the sled without coolant. Because of the additional damage, the total loss was estimated at $1,971.59
Officers later spoke with a witness who alleged the defendant had called him to say he was out of gas on a snowmobile. He picked up the defendant near the snowmobile trail. The witness and the defendant went to a relative’s home to get gas, and the witness drove the defendant back to where the sled was parked.