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A Minneapolis man, Samuel Clive Gillespie, age 22, was sentenced in Redwood County Court after claiming it was his service dog who actually stole a van from the Lamberton school district.

According to court documents, on Oct. 3 of last year, a Lamberton Police Department officer learned a van had been stolen from the Red Rock Central School, in Lamberton, and then returned. The van’s log book showed it had been driven for four unaccounted miles.

The officer next learned that a male at a nearby bar had contacted law enforcement and wanted to speak to an officer. The man, Gillespie, is deaf and mute, and was holding a dog. Several witnesses stated Gillespie was the person who had been driving the stolen van through the park in Lamberton.

Communicating with the officer with a pen and paper, Gillespie denied he had been driving the van, and stated his “buddy” had driven it. Gillespie was placed under arrest and driven to the Redwood County jail. At the jail, as Gillespie was being booked and the dog was being led away, Gillespie set a glass jar containing marijuana onto the jail floor, then was observed holding a folded knife in his hand.

Officers fought with Gillespie to get the knife, during which he hit one officer in the side of the face.

On March 27, Samuel Clive Gillespie was convicted of felony theft to 17 days local confinement, two years supervised probation, and fines and fees of $110. Gross misdemeanor charges of obstructing the legal process and assaulting a peace officer were dropped.