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Charges linked to alleged theft ring stretch from Jamestown to Fergus Falls

Jeremy Daniel Tibiatowski1 / 2
Jason Scott Leines2 / 2

FARGO - Items recovered from an alleged theft ring here this week were found in pawn shops from Jamestown to Fergus Falls, Minn., according to police reports filed with charges against the two suspects.

Jeremy Daniel Tibiatowski, 33, and Jason Scott Leines, 35, both of Fargo, were arraigned Friday morning in Cass County District Court.

Each faces eight counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Judge Wade Webb set bail at $20,000 cash or bond for each defendant.

Fargo police said Thursday that hundreds of items believed to be connected to more than a dozen burglaries were recovered from the two defendants' homes, including jewelry, electronics and tools from construction sites.

Police served a search warrant Wednesday morning at Tibiatowski's home at 5831 14th St. S. and arrested him, according to the police report filed with the charges.

In a recorded interview with detectives, Tibiatowski directed them to several sites where he'd been involved in burglaries, and he admitted to giving the property to Leines to pawn or pawning it himself, the report says.

Police served a search warrant later in the day at Leines' residence at 818 Oak St. N. and arrested him there.

When asked specifically about a house burglary on June 15 in south Fargo's Meadow Creek neighborhood, Tibiatowski and Leines both claimed to be the lookout man while the other man went into the house, the report states.

Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Tristan Van de Streek said the eight burglaries charged so far mostly targeted open garages and construction sites. They're alleged to have happened between May 25 and Wednesday.

Van de Streek said he anticipates more charges will be filed next week.

Fargo police continue to work with other agencies, including the Moorhead Police Department, to investigate the matter and try to match stolen items with their owners, Fargo Sgt. Mark Lykken said. Court documents show Moorhead Detective Ryan Nelson was present with Fargo Detective Chris Kunszt during the Tibiatowski interview.

Lykken said police encourage companies to remove valuable equipment from job sites or at least lock them in some type of storage container or trailer.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528