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April Baumgarten, Forum Communications, Published July 13 2012

AG office won’t file theft charges against Stark County sheriff

DICKINSON, N.D. – The Office of the Attorney General will not file charges against the Stark County sheriff for an alleged theft, according to a letter from the agency.

Sheriff Clarence Tuhy allegedly was involved in a theft at the House of Manna in Dickinson, a nonprofit that accepts donations and distributes to those in need. He previously said “it was an honest mistake.”

State’s Attorney Tom Henning asked the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation to review the incident in a letter dated March 27. The BCI conducted a thorough investigation and the matter does not warrant prosecution, Assistant Attorney General Paul Emerson wrote in a letter dated Tuesday.

The Office of the Attorney General declined further comment. Henning confirmed he received the letter but also declined comment.

Tuhy’s attorney, Robert Bolinske of Bismarck, said the sheriff wanted the matter taken care of and was relieved no charges were filed.

“His position all along was it was a misunderstanding,” Bolinske said. “He felt bad about it. Upon reflection, he thought it wasn’t the smartest idea, but thought he could do that, and I think that is why (BCI) decided not to prosecute.”

Tuhy said Friday that “as much as he would like to,” he could not comment on the matter.

Bolinske understands that Tuhy had an arrangement with the House of Manna, adding there was confusion regarding what property was abandoned or what the public could take.

“I don’t think anybody in their right mind is going to drive their police car or their sheriff’s car to the place, knowing it is recorded and do it if they thought something was wrong with it,” Bolinske said.

Tuhy took an item of “minimum value” from outside of the building, Bolinske said. The property in question was returned to the House of Manna, according to the letter.

The Stark County Commission has asked Gov. Jack Dalrymple to remove Tuhy from his elected position as sheriff. A workplace investigation claims he has created a “toxic environment” and is “ineffective and incompetent.”

Representatives from the governor’s office will conduct a hearing at 9 a.m. July 24 at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson, said Bismarck attorney Michael Geierman, who is representing Tuhy regarding the dismissal.

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April Baumgarten writes for The Dickinson Press