City renews scrutiny of Belgrade Avenue yard sale

This is Brian Mechler’s Belgrade Avenue yard in 2014, when the city clashed with him over an ongoing yard sale. The city recently filed charges of illegal storage against Melcher for again storing a variety of items on his yard in March and failing to clean it up when contacted by police. He’s also facing at least six charges in three counties for driving after cancellation and failure to show proof of insurance.

NORTH MANKATO — A North Mankato man whose ongoing yard sales on Belgrade Avenue in 2014 prompted legal action and ordinance changes by the city has been charged again, this time for failing to remove an assortment of snowblowers, bicycles, lawn mowers and other equipment from his front yard.

Brian Mechler, 63, also has racked up six citations since November for driving after cancellation and failure to show proof of insurance. He was cited in Nicollet, Le Sueur, Scott and Rice counties.

Those charges are misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. The city charges of illegal storage are misdemeanors.

In November, Mechler was stopped in Scott County and cited for driving after cancellation and no proof of insurance. He was cited for the same offenses in December, March and April in Nicollet and Rice counties. Mechler was cited again in Le Sueur County last month.

The city recently filed charges for incidents at Mechler’s home at 303 Belgrade Ave.

Police Chief Ross Gullickson went to the home on March 23 and observed several items in the front yard. “(It) appeared that the homeowner may have intended to attempt to sell a number of these items. That is not allowed under the zoning code of North Mankato,” the complaint says.

Gullickson advised Mechler he needed to clean up the yard. Mechler did not do so and instead added more items.

On March 30 city crews went in and cleaned up the property. They found a hot tub in front of the garage that was filled with garbage.

Under a previous court settlement agreement, the city has a standing court order allowing it to clean up Mechler’s property if code violations are observed.

All the charges against Mechler are pending in the courts.

Messages were left with his public defender seeking comment.

The city clashed with Mechler in court and at council meeting for months in 2014 over a large ongoing garage sale he was holding on his front yard, which is next to Spinners Bar & Grill.

But Mechler faced much more serious trouble that year when he made a call to police reporting a bomb threat along the Mankato Marathon route.

In 2015 prosecutors in Nicollet and Blue Earth counties arrived at a plea deal with Mechler on a variety of charges.

Citing Mechler’s compliance with mental health and supervised release requirements, both his attorney and a prosecutors agreed that a stayed sentence for making the bomb threat and for other crimes was a fair resolution.

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