VIRGINIA, Minn. - A furry, uninvited guest had manly men at an Iron Range tire shop shrieking and hopping on desks. "It was pretty humorous," said conservation officer Dan Starr, who filed a report on the critter's break-in. "Here were these big, burly outdoors guys running around screaming." Taconite Tire employees arrived at work on Monday to find what they thought was a giant rat inside the store.

"I was the first one into work that morning and the first one out," said Shannon Bergman, an off-road tire salesman. "I walked in, and in the waiting area I saw this big rat, and I took off."

Mayhem ensued.

After scampering out the front door, Bergman called a buddy and told him to bring a rifle to dispatch the critter.


On edge, employees stalked the "rat," entering the office where it was hold up.

"We're looking around in the office and a box falls, and I must have jumped a foot," said Bob Dethloff, a brawny alignment specialist and stock car racer. "I thought it was going to attack me from behind."

Dethloff's son, Ryan, a mechanic at the shop, was armed with a broomstick.

All of a sudden, he spotted the "rat."

"Ryan comes out of the office screaming, and he says, 'It's huge!'" Bergman said. "It was the size of a cat."

"I guess he jumped on top of a desk and screamed like a girl who had seen a mouse," Starr said of Ryan Dethloff.

In the end, an employee shot and killed what turned out to be a muskrat.

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2007/02/16/ap/strange/d8nb1jdg1.txt