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Wendy Reuer, Published July 06 2012

Two men accused in theft ring face new charges

FARGO – Two Fargo men believed to be the heart of a large burglary ring in the metro area are now facing nearly a dozen new felony charges in Cass County District Court and two new burglary charges in Clay County District Court.

Jason Scott Leines, 35, and Daniel Tibiatowski, 31, were each charged with two counts of first-degree burglary in Clay County District Court on Friday, after being charged with an additional 11 counts of criminal conspiracy in Cass County District Court on Monday.

Leines and Tibiatowski were arrested on June 21 at their homes and charged in Cass County District Court with eight counts of criminal conspiracy, charges linked to an alleged string of thefts in the region.

Search warrants executed on June 19 and 20 at the men’s homes in the 5800 block of 14th Street South and 800 block of Oak Street yielded hundreds of pieces of property worth tens of thousands of dollars that police believe are related to more than a dozen burglaries in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

According to Clay County Court documents, the two men are accused of stealing money and property from a home in the 500 block of 11th Avenue North in Moorhead in mid-June.

Tibiatowski told police that he was a lookout and Leines had gone into the home and stolen items, court documents said.

The two men then went to a Wahpeton pawn shop and allegedly pawned several items stolen from the home as well as power tools taken during Fargo burglaries, court documents say.

According to Minnesota law, each count of first-degree burglary carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and a $35,000 fine.

After their arrest, police linked Tibiatowski and Leines to five additional cases of home burglaries in Fargo and West Fargo that occurred in May and June.

The men allegedly broke into several homes under construction, taking power tools and other smaller tools, court documents said.

Police say several thousand dollars worth of property has been recovered from the two men’s homes and through pawn records.

Court records show Tibiatowski has prior convictions for aggravated robbery and forgery. Leines has been convicted of disorderly conduct and conspiracy to embezzle funds from an Indian tribal organization.

Both men are scheduled to appear in Cass County District Court on Aug. 9.

A Clay County hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530