A Minnesota angler is thanking social media this week for playing a part in retrieving his stolen fish house. According to St. Cloud Times, Vietnam veteran Mike Lutgen counts fishing for crappies from his fish house on the ice of Grand Lake as one of his chief passions. Lutgen often spends time there with his son, Curt, and would stay there until dark before walking back to his house nearby. This Tuesday however, Lutgen woke up to find that his fish house was gone. All that was left were tire tracks, some foot prints, and a silhouette of where the shelter had once been.

“These people are not fishermen” said a frustrated Lutgen earlier this week. “If you fish, you wouldn’t do that to your neighbor. Why? Why would you?”

Yet the fish house would not go missing for long, thanks to the power of social media. Distraught over his father’s predicament, Curt Lutgen shared the story with his cousin, Sean Lutgen, who then posted an alert on Facebook describing the fish house and how it was stolen. Within just days, the Facebook post was viewed and shared by over 150,000 people. Many pledged to keep an eye out for the stolen structure, and on Thursday, it was found intact.

A friend of the family, Mike Zwilling, found the abandoned fish house out on Peasant Lake.

“I was test driving a car, and I drove by and I saw it,” Zwilling told WCCO. “The giveaway is because it wasn’t cranked down, and I was almost positive it was his house.”

It was, and surprisingly, nothing was reported stolen from the interior of the fish house.

“It means a lot,” Lutgen said. “Now I can go fishing again.”

The Stearns Country Sheriff’s Office, which is still investigating the theft, said that the Facebook attention may have led the thieves to ditch the house at the earliest opportunity. This is not the first case where social media have proved to be invaluable in tracking down stolen goods, and sometimes the thieves themselves will post incriminating evidence online, making the case all that much easier for law enforcement.

You can see a short interview with Lutgen below:

Image screenshot of video on minnesota.cbslocal.com

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