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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • N.D. man says agent should not have given away loader

  • A North Dakota man whose pay loader was seized by the state and then ordered returned to him says an agent should be penalized for giving the loader to a trucking company that has no rights to ownership.
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  • A North Dakota man whose pay loader was seized by the state and then ordered returned to him says an agent should be penalized for giving the loader to a trucking company that has no rights to ownership.
     
    State agents confiscated the loader on May 22 from Darrell Schrum's shop in Forbes after an investigation found that it was stolen. Schrum's lawyers say that because he bought the loader in good faith not knowing it was stolen and has a lien on the improvements he made to it, he should maintain possession unless someone else files a civil suit to get the property. It's not clear in court documents who owned the loader when it was stolen.
     
    Judge Daniel Narum, who signed the search warrant that led police to seize the loader, ruled earlier this month that the equipment should be returned to the Dickey County sheriff's office no later than 5 p.m. on June 6. Documents filed by Schrum's lawyers say state Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent Arnie Rummel gave the loader to the trucking company without approval and should be held in contempt.
     
    Schrum's attorneys, Mark Friese and Neil Roesler, said they could not comment on the case while it remained open. Messages left for Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Byers and Dickey County State's Attorney Gary Neuharth were not returned.
     
    Friese and Roesler have said in documents that Rummel gave the loader to a trucking company and later reported that it had been transported to Mexico. A private investigator hired by Schrum discovered that the loader was in Texas.
     
    The motion asks that Schrum be reimbursed not less than $34,000, based on the value of loader, repairs and other costs incurred by Schrum, and that Rummel be fined $2,000 per day dating back to June 6 until the loader is returned.
     
    Byers said in his response that the contempt motion misstates some of the facts and planned to outline his case at a hearing, which has not been scheduled.
     
    Court documents show that Schrum bought the loader for $13,500, even though it was allegedly worth $31,000. Schrum said because of the low price he asked his insurance company to investigate whether it was stolen. The company found no record that it was.
     
    Schrum bought the loader on the "educated assumption that its asking price was reflective of the significant work and repair that would need to be done to bring it into proper working order," his attorneys said in documents.
     
    Neuharth, the Dickey County prosecutor, said in court documents that the county did not participate in seizing the loader from Schrum or transferring it to the trucking company.

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