A Hinckley man is facing burglary charges for an incident on Nov. 15 in Sturgeon Lake. Gerald Otto Darkow Jr., 48, has been charged with second- and third-degree burglary for allegedly breaking and entering a dwelling and removing a safe.

According to the complaint, a neighbor reported to the Pine County Sheriff’s Office around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning that a couple was snooping around a hunting property. He had collected their names when he went to investigate. He indicated the couple left in a Dodge Dakota pickup truck.

Upon investigation, the responding deputy noticed fresh tracks in the snow leading to an old farmhouse, which appeared to have had two doors pried open, one with damage. The deputy also observed fingerprints on the door. Looking around, the deputy then noticed a metal safe about halfway between the dwelling and the road at the treeline. Fresh tracks led to the safe.

The property owner was contacted, and he stated the safe had been inside the building which had been left secure three days prior. One door had been padlocked, and the other had been secured from the inside with a long, metal bar.

The reporting neighbor was able to identify Darkow and the female from a photo lineup. When the deputy located the pickup, he asked to speak to the female driver. Darkow was the passenger. She asked if it had to do with “this morning” and explained they had been driving on a dirt road earlier when Darkow needed to stop and relieve himself. She stated he had been gone about 15 minutes. Meanwhile the neighbor had stopped to speak with her. A search of the vehicle revealed tools, including a flat bar, behind the driver’s seat.

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