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Published January 17 2012

Locked-out worker charged with vandalism

MOORHEAD – A locked-out American Crystal Sugar worker faces charges after allegedly scratching a replacement worker’s car last month.

According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Clay County District Court, 40-year-old Bradley Alan Knapper of Moorhead faces a felony charge stemming from an incident on Dec. 20, when he was picketing with other locked-out workers outside the American Crystal plant here.

The complaint states that at about 10 p.m., a car carrying four replacement workers was leaving the plant when they saw Knapper approach the car.

The victim told police he recognized Knapper because Knapper was often standing in the picket line and had been in the newspaper several times, according to the complaint.

The vehicle’s driver told police he heard a loud noise when Knapper got close to the car. Because of the number of people in the area, the driver told police he waited to stop the car until he got to a Holiday station, where he called 911.

The complaint states that when the driver inspected the vehicle, he found a deep scratch on the driver’s side from the side door to the rear tire wheel well. Damage to the car was estimated at more than $1,000.

Police determined the scratch was new because there had been freezing rain all day and the scratch was the only part of the car without a coating of ice.

The complaint states all three passengers told police they also heard the noise. The two backseat passengers both took video of Knapper approaching the vehicle as it exited the gate.

Another American Crystal employee also took a video that shows Knapper touching the car and then following it as it left the parking lot, the complaint states.

Knapper is scheduled to make his first appearance at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 2 in Clay County District Court.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535