By Dan Nienaber
---- — MANKATO — As of Friday, deputies still hadn't found the fugitive they were looking for but the search is garnering a growing list of stolen property.
Deputies have been searching for Jacob John Friedrichs since he allegedly ran after being in a car that clipped a deputy during a stop on June 29. He wasn't found that night nor after a larger search that was launched after a deputy saw him again riding in a pickup truck driven by another woman through Southhaven Mobile Home Park Tuesday. The deputy reported Friedrichs ran before he could get to the pickup.
When the deputy returned to the pickup after losing Friedrichs, he did find a large amount of heavy gauge copper wire in the bed of the truck. An employee at Southern Minnesota Construction had reported Monday that several hundred feet of copper wire had been stolen from one of its mining operations. An SMC employee was called to the Blue Earth County Justice Center to look at the copper and he reported it was some of the copper that had been stolen, according to an affidavit used to get a search warrant for the pickup Friday.
The woman who was driving the pickup also ran after the deputy attempted to catch Friedrichs. She was found during the search, however. She told investigators she and her boyfriend had been at a rented mini storage unit with Friedrichs earlier that morning. Friedrichs had cut the copper from a spool there, she said. She also said Friedrichs had a camouflaged all terrain vehicle in the shed.
When deputies searched the storage unit Tuesday, they found a large amount of copper wire and the four wheeler. The vehicle had several options on it, including heated seats and a windshield. The same vehicle, which was confirmed with a serial number, was one of two that had been reported stolen from a residence in Nicollet County in June.
Friedrichs is on parole after serving prison time for manufacturing methamphetamine in 2004. The Department of Corrections issued a warrant for his arrest last week for violating his parole. The deputy stopped the car Friedrichs was allegedly in on June 29 because he was responding to a report of a disturbance in South Bend Township. The deputy reported he immediately recognized Friedrichs and knew he had a warrant for his arrest.
"It's just a matter of time before we find him," Blue Earth County Chief Deputy Mike Mauer said Friday. "He's not going anywhere."
The woman who was driving the car on June 29, 31-year-old Corinna Faye Nielson, told the deputy she hit his squad car door because Friedrichs reached down and pushed her foot on the accelerator. Both she and Friedrichs are facing felony assault charges for that incident.