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Bail set for Thief River Falls cop facing theft charges

Bail was set Thursday at $100,000 for a Thief River Falls police officer accused of stealing and reselling big-ticket items such as lawnmowers and all-terrain vehicles.

Paul James Kezar, 37, faces four felony counts of receiving stolen property: three in Marshall County and one in Pennington County.

Kezar was arrested Wednesday and is being held at the Marshall County jail in Warren, Minn. He's set to make a court appearance today in Pennington County.

The case broke as Pennington County Sheriff's deputies investigated a report of a stolen lawnmower and tracked down the current owner Tuesday, who told them he bought it from Kezar. That tip led to information that Kezar had been involved in stealing items such as boats, trailers, snowmobiles and ATVs, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation.

A search of Kezar's residence turned up several items -- worth a total of more than $50,000 -- that had been reported stolen from businesses and individuals, according to a criminal complaint.

Kezar was hired Jan. 5 by the Thief River Falls Police Department. Like all hires, he was on probationary status for his first year. He previously worked as a sheriff's deputy in St. Croix County, Wis., from 2001-02, and as a police officer in Stillwater, Minn., from 2002-05.