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Craigslist seller gets charged

By Staff | Apr 15, 2012

A 19-year-old Bricelyn man’s scheme to reap a profit by selling farm machinery didn’t materialize as expected.

Dustin Donver Tramm’s idea: post for sale an International Harvester 3020 combine bean head and trailer on Mankato Craigslist.

Not a bad plan – unless you don’t own the items.

On Monday, Tramm appeared in Faribault County District Court on charges of theft-by-swindle, theft and third-degree burglary.

He is being held in the county jail on a $50,000 bond or cash bail.

Sheriff Mike Gormley arrested Tramm with the help of two people posing as potential buyers by the city park in Bricelyn on April 5.

Authorities say Tramm reportedly entered a shed where the equipment was being stored and took pictures.

Once posted on the Craigslist website, Tramm received a phone call from Brice Peterson. Tramm reportedly told him he was selling the items because his father had passed away and there were bills to pay.

A court complaint says Peterson became suspicious, jotted down the bean head’s serial number and called a local implement dealer.

Records showed the equipment did not belong to Tramm.

When Peterson contacted the owner, the complaint says he was surprised to hear his bean head and trailer were listed for sale on Craigslist. So, he called the sheriff.

The complaint says Peterson tried to arrange a meeting to buy the items, but Tramm told him he had found two other buyers.

Gormley was able to talk with the two men and explained that Tramm did not own the equipment.

The men agreed to help the sheriff and called Tramm to finalize the deal.

The complaint says Gormley rode with the men in their pickup to the park.

The bean head was valued at $37,000 and the trailer at $7,000, says the complaint.

Tramm was reportedly offering to sell the items for $18,000.

After the two men and Tramm discussed a deal, says the complaint, Gormley got out of the pickup and arrested him.

The maximum penalty for theft-by-swindle is 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Theft has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, while third-degree burglary carries a penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.