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Police & Courts: Hoax brings out SWAT team

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Storm Lake police are investigating a purported hoax on Highway Street on Saturday.

At around 6:55 p.m. on Saturday, officers with the SLPD responded to 120 Highway St. for a report of a shooting and an armed individual who allegedly barricaded himself inside the residence. Responding officers secured a perimeter around the apartment complex and the area was evacuated. The scene was cleared by 9 p.m.

The SLPD entry team responded to the scene with partnering agencies.

The apartment that was the subject of the alleged threat was unoccupied. No evidence of a crime was found, according to a statement issued on Monday afternoon by the SLPD.

“(P)olice allege the incident to be a hoax with no public safety risk,” the statement reads.

An investigation into the incident is continuing.

The SLPD was assisted in investigation by the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol and Storm Lake Fire Department.


10 days in jail

A Storm Lake man was sentenced to 10 days in jail for probation violations that range from October 2022 to August 2023.

Buena Vista County District Court Judge Charles Borth sentenced Rick Shed, 33, to the jail term in an order May 21. Judge Borth’s order was handed down without a joint sentencing recommendation. Both Shed and County Attorney Paul Allen appeared in front of the judge on May 20. The judge found that he violated probation, but found him in contempt. He imposed a 10-day jail term in lieu of a five-year prison sentence that could’ve been imposed.

Shed was arrested last August for leaving the state without permission from his probation officer. He missed a probation appointment; was fired from his job and tested positive for methamphetamine. He was also arrested in Florida for robbery/strongarm, according to court records.

In September 2022, Shed was sentenced to two days in jail and three years probation for choking his girlfriend in a residence on East Fourth Street.


Suit over hotel pool work dismissed

A lawsuit against the contract seller and owner of the Quality Inn on North Lake Avenue over the alleged failure to pay over $20,000 for pool repairs at the hotel pool last April was dismissed.

Buena Vista County District Court Judge Charles Borth dismissed a lawsuit McPeak Pools & Spas of Renwick filed against Dev Hospitality of Sioux City, the contract seller, and 1726 N. Lake Ave. LLC, the contract buyer. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the underlying claim can’t be refiled.

McPeak alleged Dev Hospitality and the limited liability corporation failed to pay two invoices totaling $20,000 that were submitted after McPeak installed a pool pump, renovated the hotel’s pool body and tested for leaks.

Dev Hospitality only paid $15,000 of the total repair bill, estimated more than $35,000, according to McPeak’s lawsuit. The lawsuit originally named Dev Hospitality as the only defendant; an amended petition the pool and spa broker filed in February named the limited liability corporation as a separate defendant.

Neither Dev Hospitality nor the limited liability corporation responded to McPeak’s lawsuit. Dani Eisentrager, an Eagle Grove lawyer representing McPeak, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the dismissal, which was requested by McPeak.


Judgment over $123,000 unpaid bill

A judge assessed $123,000 to a Storm Lake solar panel installer that allegedly failed to pay for lithium ion batteries that were used for area solar projects.

Buena Vista County District Court Judge Carl Petersen assessed Trusted Energy LLC of Storm Lake $123,000, the amount the plaintiff, Sonnen Inc. of Stone Mountain, Ga., requested. The amount must be paid at 18% interest per year, per Judge Petersen’s order.

Sonnen sued Trusted Energy in February, alleging the solar panel installer failed to pay $100,000 that was incurred in connection with the purchase of an ecoLinx100 and 21 CI batteries, according to court records. The materials were purchased in April 2022. Invoices were sent to Trusted Energy as late as September 2022, according to court records.

Trusted Energy didn’t respond to Sonnen’s lawsuit, the third debt-collection lawsuit that has been filed against the company and its owners in the last year.


Gun allegedly drawn in dog dispute

A Storm Lake man was arrested last month for pointing a firearm at a neighbor who let his dog run at his property in rural Storm Lake.

David Gutel, 72, was booked into Buena Vista County Jail May 27 for assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor. Gutel allegedly brandished a Taurus Judge revolver toward a neighbor at around 4:45 p.m. that day. The neighbor allegedly approached Gutel, who became upset that the neighbor and the neighbor’s dog were on his property, according to an affidavit filed by the Buena Vista County Sheriff. Gutel allegedly brandished the firearm at the neighbor and threatened to shoot the dog.

The affidavit alleges Gutel and the neighbor had a “past history.” Gutel allegedly chased the neighbor to his residence in a previous incident. He allegedly demanded the neighbor to keep the dog off his property at 5810 110th Ave.

Gutel was released the following day on a $2,000 bond, according to court records. A magistrate court appearance was scheduled for June 19.


Charged with domestic assault

A Storm Lake man was arrested for assaulting his wife in an Oneida Street residence last fall.

Rahim Esquibel, 28, was booked into Buena Vista County Jail May 22 for domestic abuse third or subsequent offense. Esquibel allegedly grabbed his wife’s neck at around 6 p.m. in a residence in the 500 block of Oneida Street on Nov. 14, 2023, according to an affidavit filed by Storm Lake police. Esquibel couldn’t be found at the scene, according to the affidavit.

Esquibel was released on a $5,000 bond. An arraignment is scheduled for June 17.


10 years in prison for assaulting daughter

A Bridgewater, S.D., man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting his daughter in Marathon.

Buena Vista County District Court Judge Charles Borth sentenced Candido Trejo-Gonzalez, 36, to the prison term in an order May 20. Trejo-Gonzalez agreed to serve the sentence, according to court records. He filed an alford plea to two felony counts of lascivious acts with a child. In exchange, the Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office agreed to recommend 10 years instead of a 20-year sentence that could’ve been imposed. The county attorney’s office also recommended the prison sentence be imposed concurrently to a separate conviction out of Clay County. And the county attorney’s office recommended dismissal of two misdemeanors that were filed in connection with the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s investigation into Trejo-Gonzalez.

Trejo-Gonzalez allegedly sexually assaulted his daughter on two occasions between June to August of last year. He allegedly touched the genitalia of a female girl over her clothing, according to the sheriff’s affidavit.

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