The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 11, 2013

Two men with tow truck facing felony theft charges

By Dan Nienaber
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — Two men are being investigated by several law enforcement agencies, including the Mankato Department of Public Safety, for allegedly using a tow truck to steal automobiles.

Mankato authorities became aware of the thefts Sept. 16 when a woman living in the 200 block of Owatonna Street reported a Chevrolet pickup and a yellow Jaguar had been stolen from her residence. An officer responding to the report said there were impressions on the ground that made him suspect a tow truck was used to take the vehicles.

Two days later the same officer was told that Jerome William Darkow, 36, of Mankato had reported his black tow truck had been stolen. The officer also was told that Darkow and another man, Charles Edward Madison, 49, of St. Paul were wanted in Faribault County for allegedly using a tow truck to steal a car from a farm.

That victim called the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department Sept. 17 to report a 1993 Buick Le Sabre had been stolen sometime after Sept. 15. She had been attempting to sell the car and a potential buyer told her the car had been there that day.

The woman called 4X4 Truck & Auto Parts, a salvage yard in Winnebago, to see if her car was there. She told Faribault County investigators an employee there said the car had been brought to the lot by two men with a tow truck. Those men said their names were Charles Madison and Jerome Darkow when they sold the car, according to criminal complaints filed against the men in Faribault County on Sept. 20.

The police officer investigating the Mankato vehicle thefts also called the salvage yard. An employee told the officer Madison and Darkow had used a tow truck to drop off the pickup and Jaguar as well. Both men were arrested and appeared in Faribault County District Court last month for felony theft charges.

The men have not been charged in Blue Earth County, but a search warrant was issued so Mankato investigators could search the tow truck after it was found Sept. 19 in the 900 block of North Riverfront Drive. Investigators also requested to search the recovered vehicles. The affidavit requesting that warrant said the men are being investigated by several law enforcement agencies, including the police departments in Minneapolis and Coon Rapids.