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Woman charged with stealing $22,000 pleads not guilty

The Warroad, Minn., woman accused of stealing at least $22,000 from an ex-boyfriend pleaded not guilty in state court in Thief River Falls Monday.

Venche Keeler, 36, is slated to appear in court again Thursday and remains under $10,000 bond in Pennington County jail.

She has a criminal record of theft convictions in North Dakota and Minnesota, previously going by the last name Tennancour and Solberg and living in Emerado, N.D., and Devils Lake. She grew up in Larimore, N.D., where she attended high school in the early 1990s.

Keeler remains on five years of probation from a 2009 felony theft conviction in Roseau County for check forgery with intent to defraud, according to state court records.

She made a first appearance last week on a charge she took $22,000 in cash from a 24-year-old Grand Forks man. He told police that over several months Keeler actually emptied the glove compartment in his pickup of $100,000 in cash he had stashed there.

According to investigators’ probable cause statement, Keeler admitted taking $22,000.

The money came from a 1993 settlement with a trucking firm over injuries the man said he suffered as a child in a traffic accident. He still has memory problems stemming from the injury, which make it difficult for him to know what happened to all the money, he said.

The man told police he and Keeler had dated, and remained friends, meeting in Thief River Falls occasionally.

Article written by Stephen J. Lee of the Grand Forks Herald

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