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Dave Roepke, Published October 24 2010

Best Buy 12 get redress options

Cass County prosecutors have inked agreements on restitution with at least four of the 12 men convicted in connection with a series of thefts from Best Buy that totaled $150,000.

Tanya Johnson Martinez, an assistant Cass County state’s attorney, said that settlement offers have been made to all 12 of the defendants in the inside-job theft cases.

The amounts requested have ranged from $1,800 to $6,000, she said.

Johnson Martinez said there were three factors in determining what to ask for in each case – culpability in the thefts, what goods they’ve already returned and the ability to actually pay the restitution amount.

The four who’ve already signed agreements were all offered and accepted $1,800, Johnson Martinez said, including:

The thefts last fall and winter were facilitated by two security guards who worked at Fargo’s Best Buy store and let friends and associates take merchandise without paying.

Best Buy, a Minneapolis-based electronics retailer, didn’t return a message seeking comment on the restitution amounts. Police said in April that $50,000 of the $150,000 in stolen goods were returned prior to the theft charges being filed.

Five defendants have set restitution hearings, where a judge could rule on how much the payback amounts will be, if the attorneys are unable to reach agreement.

Johnson Martinez said Adetimisola Ogundipe, the security guard who police pinned as the ringleader of the thefts, has agreed on an amount but the settlement hasn’t yet been signed.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535