Owner of Indian Motorcycles Disputes Felony Charge
Arturo Welch's defense attorney recently filed a motion in Washington County District Court to dismiss felony property damages charges against the 35-year-old Stillwater man due to a "lack of probable cause."
The attorney for a 35-year-old Stillwater man who faces a felony property-damage charge filed a motion to dismiss the case due to the lack of probable cause.
On May 23, a motion was filed in Washington County District Court requesting that the complaint be dismissed for “an insufficient showing of probable cause” to believe Arturo Welch caused more than $1,000 in damage to a Forest Lake woman’s garage door.
Laura Kristy Stevenson, 40, of Forest Lake, told police that Welch drove his vehicle into her garage door after she refused to meet him for a job interview.
Welch is the owner of Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities.
Stevenson, Welch’s ex-girlfriend from several years ago, reportedly told Forest Lake police that on March 2 she was texting Welch about a job opening.
She told police Welch responded to her inquiry, with remarks insinuating “if she had sex with him or sent some ‘naughty or enticing’ pictures” he may consider giving her the job, the complaint states.
Welch says he sent a text following that message that states: “If that doesn’t scare you off, then I don’t know what will,” which was not included in the text messages Stevenson reportedly gave Forest Lake police.
According to the police report, Stevenson turned over all of the text messages as evidence in the case, but according to Welch's phone text conversation it appears texts were omitted, deleted or added to the conversation given to police.
Welch said when he asked Forest Lake Police Officer Lavalle if she would like to see his text messages to compare what police were given, the officer told him she didn’t need to, because she’d already seen them.
The police report says Welch was uncooperative with the investigation.
But when Stillwater Patch reached out to Welch, he agreed to show the text conversation on his phone, which drastically conflicts the text messages included in the police report. The text conversation that occured between Stevenson and Welch has not been verified by phone companies.
When comparing the text messages in the police report to those on Welch’s phone, the context in which the conversation occurred is lost.
At one point in the conversation, the police report shows that Welch allegedly sent a text message saying he would come to her house to meet with her. Stevenson told police she responded with a text stating: “No I don't want u here."
But according to the conversation on Welch’s phone, there was an extended conversation through text messages in which Stevenson told Welch to come over and she would try to get childcare for her child.
The context of the text conversation about sending “naughty or enticing pictures” to Welch is also left out of the police report.
Welch then drove to the woman’s house and when he arrived sent two more messages, the complaint states. The first text allegedly reads, "I'm here" and the second Welch asking "Which one is it?" Welch said the messages meant he was unsure which house was hers, but that part of the conversation was also left out of the initial police report.
When asked if the allegations have negatively impacted his business, Welch said, “in a way a little, and in another way, not so much.”
“We recently had a bike night at our shop and over 300 people showed up,” Welch said. “It was the largest bike night we’ve had to date, and this was after the story broke.”
But some members of a motorcycle forum have had a “field day” with this story, Welch said, by passing the story around Facebook.
“Some of the members of the forum have had it in for me almost since I opened, but as a result it has generated more interest in our dealership,” he said. “So I can’t say that it’s really hurt me, but who likes this kind of thing written about them anyway?”
When asked if he believes the charges will be dismissed, Welch said: “Only a judge can decide that, but at least I kept my phone conversation as proof that she deliberately left a lot of things out.”
An omnibus hearing in the case is set for Sept. 19. A jury trial has been scheduled for Dec. 3.