MASON CITY - A Clear Lake man is accused of stealing money, a truck and operating while under the influence.

Robert Troy Knutson, 53, is charged with felony operating while under the influence--third offense, misdemeanor driving while barred in Mason City.

Clear Lake police filed criminal complaints against Knutson for operating a vehicle without owner's consent and fifth-degree theft.

According to Clear Lake police criminal complaints, police responded around 6:20 p.m. March 1 at the Lake Country Inn, 518 Highway 18 W., Clear Lake.

An employee reported Knutson stole $40 in cash from the cash register in the hotel lobby and 1996 red Ford F-150 truck that belonged to the hotel from the hotel parking lot, the criminal complaint said.

The owner confirmed that Knutson did not have permission to drive the truck, police said.

According to police, the employee said she was in the hotel lobby when Knutson stole the cash -- a $20 bill, $10 bill and two $5 bills. 

Knutson allegedly left the hotel in the truck after stealing the $40 dollars.

At 8:20 p.m., Mason City police arrested Knutson for driving a red Ford truck while barred and intoxicated.

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According to Mason City police, Knutson was brought to the attention of officers when a motorist called in that a red Ford F-150 almost struck them about 8:09 p.m..

“They gave officers the location of the truck, which was empty when officers arrived on scene,” court documents said. “While officers were waiting to see if anyone came back to the truck an officer with the Clear Lake Police Department informed Mason City Officers that the truck was being entered in as stolen and that Knutson did not have permission to drive.”

Knutson was observed by officers coming back to the vehicle. He then started the vehicle and began to drive and was stopped a short distance later in Mason City.

“When officers made contact with Knutson he had bloodshot watery eyes and smelled heavily of an alcoholic beverage,” the criminal complaint said. “Knutson admitted to drinking and spoke with slurred speech.”

Knutson was offered field sobriety tests and he refused all of them, police said. He has at least two prior OWI convictions in Cerro Gordo County in 2006 and 2012.  

The $40 was found in Knutson's wallet upon arrest, police said, and he admitted he took the truck. 

Knutson is being held in Cerro Gordo County Jail on a $2,000 bond.

He is scheduled to appear in Cerro Gordo County District Court March 12. A non-jury trial for the theft charge is scheduled for Sept. 5.

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Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.



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