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Threat of home invasion spreads

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

STEWARTVILLE — Jon and Gloria Nelson have lived quietly in rural High Forest Township for nearly 25 years.

They have hardly ever locked the door to their wood-frame home, frequently even leaving the keys in the unlocked cars in the driveway.

"Now we are going to be getting a lot more guns," said the 69-year-old owner of Nelson Auto Sales.

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So are some of his neighbors as word spreads about how the family allegedly was targeted for a home invasion that was thwarted by law-enforcement agents just minutes before it was about to happen Tuesday night.

Two men are in custody facing felony-level charges.

Nelson said his wife now lives in fear and won’t stay home alone.

They learned about the planned incident about 11 p.m. Tuesday when deputies knocked on their door.

Nelson said he learned that it all started when a trusted friend is believed to have told others that he suspected the Nelsons had a lot of cash stashed in a safe.

Deputies told the family how the suspects talked of beating them up, even killing them if necessary.

"At first, it made me very angry," Nelson said Friday afternoon. "The next night when it got dark, I was scared stiff."

The daughter Shannon was raised in the quiet countryside. Back home on vacation from Colorado, she had just put her small children to bed when deputies came.

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"You just don’t expect something like this in High Forest," she said Friday.

On Wednesday, Nelson was at the Olmsted County courthouse getting an harassment restraining order against the man he thought was a friend; the man "we would trust our lives with," the man who played with his

grandchildren.

Nelson said he has been told that the man could also face criminal charges for aiding the others. No charges have been filed to date.

Family members weren’t injured; they credit this to an informant who tipped police.

"Thank God for great police work," Nelson said. "We are so lucky to have great policemen to do the great work they do. They do not get enough credit it seems to me."

He told his sister in an e-mail that he shudders to think that he and his wife could have been killed; even worse, that Shannon and his grandchildren could have been killed.

He also told her to stop and thank a veteran or soldier when she sees one; the same with a policeman.

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"You might not even know what he has done for you or your neighbor, but he is always there," he wrote. "Then thank God we live in the greatest country in the world."

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