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Four Best Buy defendants appear in court

Four defendants accused of participating in an inside-job theft ring at Fargo's Best Buy made their first court appearances Friday.

Cass County District Court Judge Steven Marquart set bail at $5,000 cash or $500 bond for Anthony Rocco Martin, 20.

Martin's bail was higher than the other defendants who appeared Friday because he's charged with a more serious Class B felony for allegedly stealing more than $10,000 worth of merchandise from Best Buy.

Bail was set at $3,000 cash or $300 bond for the other three defendants, each charged with a Class C felony. Each is accused in court records of stealing more than $500 of merchandise.

Those defendants are Anthony Alexander Sands, 20, Daniel Jerome Offerman Jr., 19, and Christopher Michael Griffin, 19.

Sands is an offensive lineman for the Minnesota State University Moorhead football team who has been suspended since early March, when officials learned of the theft investigation and a drunken-driving charge he has pending in Clay County.

Prosecutors say two Best Buy security guards worked with at least 10 others to push carts full of electronics out of the store without paying for them.

Best Buy estimates it lost $150,000 of merchandise between September and February, the timeframe prosecutors say these thefts occurred. Police have recovered $50,000 of merchandise.

Attorneys for the defendants told the judge their clients have been cooperating with authorities and have limited or no criminal histories.

Marquart also ordered the defendants not to enter Best Buy. All four are scheduled to appear in court on May 13 for a preliminary hearing.

All four posted bond Friday.

Attorney William Kirsch­ner, who appeared with Griffin Friday but is not representing him, said this case has been overplayed compared to more serious thefts, such as bank fraud.

Attorneys for the defendants declined to comment further.

Twelve people are charged in connection with the theft ring. Seven of the 11 who were charged Wednesday have not yet appeared in court.