By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
NORTH MANKATO — Felony assault and threats charges have been filed against a 23-year-old Mankato man who allegedly held a gun to another man’s chest during a property dispute.
Matthew James Smisek was taken into custody near the alleged victim’s residence shortly after the Jan. 12 incident was reported, but he was allowed to leave because Nicollet County sheriff’s deputies and North Mankato police couldn’t find a gun. He was arrested later after a handgun was found in an electrical box at the Timm Road residence.
Deputies and police officers were sent to the home of the victim, a 24-year-old North Mankato man, after he called to report Smisek was there and had threatened him with a gun. He later told a deputy that Smisek was looking for a portable heater and two mopeds that had been left at the house by Smisek’s father, according to a criminal complaint filed in Nicollet County District Court last week.
The victim said he was able to give Smisek the heater, but the mopeds, which had been at the house for a long time, had been moved to another location. Smisek left, but came back and knocked on the door two more times. When the victim answered the last time, Smisek had a large black handgun that he pointed at the victim’s chest, the complaint said.
When police and deputies arrived and searched Smisek’s car, they only found a hammer. Smisek denied having a gun and said he brought the hammer up to the victim’s house to knock the door in. When the victim was told no gun was found, he used his computer to print out a photo from Smisek’s Facebook page that he said showed the gun that was used.
Officers kept looking, but no gun was found so Smisek was told he was going to be cited for disorderly conduct and he was allowed to leave.
Deputies returned to the victim’s house after he called to report he had found an electrical box near his driveway. A Ruger was in the box, and in a soft case, when a deputy arrived, the complaint said. As the deputy was getting a camera to take a picture of the gun in the electrical box, Smisek passed the victim’s house in a car driven by someone else.
Smisek was arrested again and brought to jail. He allegedly told investigators he pulled the gun and threatened the victim. He said he hid the gun in the box because he knew police were coming, according to the complaint.