Anthony Kayne Johnston, 35, made his initial appearance before Richland County District Court Tuesday, Nov. 12.
The Dilworth, Minnesota, man is charged with one count of theft of property (possession of stolen property), a class C felony. He is also charged with unauthorized vehicle use, a class A misdemeanor.
Through investigations conducted by the Richland County Sheriff’s Office and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Johnston is accused of knowing receiving, retaining of disposing of property valued within $1,000-$10,000 which had been stolen from another.
On Sept. 20, 2019, a 2000 Chevy pickup and tandem axle trailer were reported as stolen to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office. The victim reported the trailer had been connected to the pickup.
Law enforcement obtained surveillance footage from Sept. 19, 2019 from the Dollar General and Tesoro stores in Wyndmere, North Dakota. The footage from Tesoro shows the trailer being towed by the pickup as it drove into the Dollar General making lot, court documents state. The footage from inside Dollar General shows Johnston inside the store shortly after the trailer arrived in the parking lot.
The pickup was recovered by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 23, 2019 in the parking lot of a Holiday gas station in Moorhead, Minnesota, documents continue. A sheriff’s deputy obtained a search warrant and proceeded to search the vehicle.
“The deputy found a Dakota Magic Casino player’s card issued to the defendant and a cell phone belonging to the defendant,” documents continue.
Surveillance video from Holiday shows a man allegedly matching Johnston’s description exiting the vehicle and entering the store around the same time the vehicle was recovered by the sheriff’s office. Surveillance video from inside the store also shows a man, allegedly Johnston, walking around inside the store.
After the vehicle was returned to the victim, a Dollar General receipt from Sept. 19, 2019 was found inside, according to court documents.
“The trailer was never recovered. This is a class C felony because the trailer was valued at $3,500,” documents continue.
Johnston allegedly was never authorized to take, operate or execute control over the victim’s pickup.
Judge Bradley Cruff set Johnston’s bail at $5,000, cash only. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim.
Richland County Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Moen is representing the state of North Dakota. Attorney Don Krassin is representing Johnston.
North Dakota court records show Johnston has been charged and convicted multiple times on criminal and misdemeanor level theft, burglary and forgery or counterfeiting charges within the last 15 years.
The maximum penalty for a class A misdemeanor is 360 days imprisonment, a $3,000 fine, or both.
The maximum penalty for a class C felony is five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Johnston was confined in the Richland County Jail as of Thursday, Nov. 14.