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Shane Rylander and Will Hague arrested in DNR mounted deer heist [UPDATE]

Here's a very Minnesotan crime: Heisting deer heads from the Department of Natural Resources.

Police say someone broke into DNR-owned storage facilities earlier this week and left with power tools and some mounted deer heads.

The heads were part of a "Wall of Shame" display of poached deer and other wildlife in Minnesota, and are apparently very valuable.

Police arrested Shane James Rylander, 40, and Will Houston Hague, 47, in relation to the crime yesterday, says Officer John Keating, St. Paul police spokesman. Both men were booked on suspicion of possessing stolen property, though neither has been formally charged.

St. Paul police received a tip yesterday that the stolen items were being held at an address on the 700 block of East Conway Street in St. Paul, says Keating.

"Investigators were watching the address when they saw some items being loaded into the van outside of the address," he says.

Officers pulled the van over when it drove away, and found some of the property reported stolen by the DNR. Rylander and Hague were also in the van, and police brought them into custody, says Keating.

"A short time after that, police executed a search warrant at the address on Conway, and found lots of stuff," he says.

Of the stolen items: mounts from this display meant to raise awareness of deer poaching.
Of the stolen items: mounts from this display meant to raise awareness of deer poaching.
Photo courtesy MN DNR.

Police believe one more person might have been involved in the head-heist as well.

The third suspect is currently in custody elsewhere for an unrelated crime, so has not been booked in relation to this one.

The heads and other stolen items have been returned to the DNR.

Update: After inventorying the returned items, the DNR believes that just about everything is accounted for, says DNR spokesman Harland Hiemstra. On top of the power tools, that's about 20 total mounts of mostly deer heads (though a bear head, turkey tail, and a walleye were also stolen and returned).

Hiemstra couldn't put an exact value on the items recovered.

"We're talking definitely in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars," he says.


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