An East Grand Forks man pleaded guilty in Polk County District Court this week to several charges in connection with burglaries and thefts of two businesses in that city.
Ryan Lane Pederson, 30, entered guilty pleas to the following offenses: two counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of felony theft, possession of burglary or theft tools, felony possession of stolen property and fifth-degree controlled substance crime-possession of methamphetamine. Another charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement. In a separate file, Pederson pleaded guilty to fifth-degree controlled substance crime-possession of heroin and possession of contraband (marijuana) within a jail. Sentencing for both cases is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2012.
The criminal complaint filed by the Polk County Attorney's office details the crimes Pederson was charged with. The first involves the Blue Moose, at which a break-in and theft of an ATM was reported the morning of June 6, 2010. The alarm system had not gone off during the night, although a large window and glass on a door were broken. The owner of the business said there was about $2,060 in cash in the ATM and that the ATM was worth approximately $2,398.
Police officers learned that several employees of the business that provided cleaning services to the Blue Moose had the code to disarm the alarm system. Pederson was one of these employees.
On Nov. 28, 2010, a van belonging to A & H Vending of East Grand Forks with an open safe inside was discovered by the Grand Forks County (N.D.) Sheriff's Department in rural Grand Forks. The business owner later reported that a hole was cut into the side of the building and the alarm system was deactivated. Approximately $1,159 was missing. The telephone line panel into the business was destroyed, which would cost more than $4,500 to repair, and other damage was reported as well.
A few months later, in March, Pederson's brother told police he admitted to him that he “did a job” at the vending company. The brother said he knew that Ryan Pederson and another brother liked to commit commercial burglaries, making off with safes and ATMs, and had a method involving a few accomplices and two-way radios. The brother also admitted to helping commit such burglaries down to Florida and back.
Several months later on Sept. 26, an East Grand Forks Police officer pulled Ryan Pederson over on a traffic stop. The pickup truck had no insurance and expired plates, so was towed. An inventory search of the truck found numerous items including power tools, keys from A & H Vending, tools with different initials carved on them, pawn receipts and tools often used for burglaries.
Pederson was arrested Sept. 30 and a search of the garage his girlfriend rented turned up, among other things, a tool belt containing numerous keys to vehicles with plastic stock tags attached to them and drug paraphernalia with meth residue. The keys were traced to Lowman Motors in Fargo, where the manager had reported a break-in during the night of Aug. 18. Not only were the keys stolen, but also some sound equipment, which was found in Pederson's pickup. As a result of the theft of the keys, the manager of Lowman Motors said 39 vehicles had to be re-keyed at a cost of more than $3,900.
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Pederson has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1999, including several felony convictions in both North Dakota and Minnesota for burglary, theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and controlled substance crime. He has spent time in prison for some of these crimes.