By Dan Nienaber
---- — ST. PETER — Alert neighbors, an abandoned vehicle and information from a jewelry store led investigators to a Mankato couple who are now facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing cash, jewelry and drugs from one residence and a pickup truck from a neighboring residence in rural Nicollet County.
On Oct. 25 a couple living near Courtland called the Nicollet County Sheriff's Department to report their house had been burglarized. They told a deputy an unknown amount of cash, several pieces of jewelry and nine bottles of prescription drugs had been stolen from their house. The drugs stolen included Vicodin and oxycodone.
The deputy also learned a 1994 Ford pickup had been stolen from a neighboring residence and a Mazda CX7 had been abandoned on a nearby gravel road.
Another neighbor told the deputy that a Mazda had pulled into his driveway at about 4:50 p.m. Oct. 25. The car was making loud noises and appeared to be having mechanical problems. A woman wearing a pink sweatshirt and pink pants and a man got out of the car and started walking toward his house. After the homeowner's dog started barking, the man and woman stopped, turned into a wooded area and started walking toward the house that was burglarized, the neighbor reported.
Another neighbor told the deputy she was driving on a gravel road in the area at about 5:45 p.m. Oct. 25. She said she saw someone driving the stolen pickup and thought it was odd because the driver was going faster than people living in the area usually do. She also said, unlike her neighbors, the driver didn't pull to the side of the road. A third neighbor said she noticed a man she didn't know standing at the end of a driveway that led to the house the pickup had been stolen from.
When the Mazda, which had been towed, wasn't claimed by Oct. 28, a Nicollet County sheriff's detective went to the towing lot to look at it. He saw a laptop computer and a flat-screen television inside. He also learned the car was registered to Sarah Marie Curry, 30, and she had called the Mankato Department of Public Safety that day to report the car had been stolen.
The investigator also stopped at Save Mor Jewelry in Mankato to see if the store had any of the stolen items in its inventory. He was told a matching item had been recently sold to the store by a man. That man told the investigator he had sold the jewelry as a favor to Curry and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Matthew Unzeitig.
When Curry and Unzeitig were interviewed, they allegedly said they had stopped in the area of the burglary and theft because they were having car troubles, according to a complaint filed in Nicollet County District Court.
Both said Untzeitig waited at the end of the driveways while Curry walked up to the house that was burglarized and the residence from which the pickup had been stolen. Curry allegedly said she found the keys for the pickup inside it.
The couple also said they left the pickup in Mankato. It was found where they said it would be, the complaint said. Curry has been charged with felony burglary and theft. Unzeitig has been charged with two felony counts of aiding an offender.