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Emily Welker, Published December 30 2013

Fargo police recover Iraqi money with a US value of about $17,000 stolen from vacationers' home

FARGO – Police have recovered most of $20 million in Iraqi currency stolen from a home here in connection with a ring of burglars who allegedly targeted the homes of people on vacation.

A search warrant filed Dec. 23 in Cass County District Court for the cellphone of one of the alleged ring members, Christopher Pinks, 39, of Fargo, states police found $18 million in Iraqi money during a search of 1426 11th Ave. S., the home of another alleged burglar, Daniel Joe Wieland, 36.

Another search warrant, this one also filed in Cass County court Dec. 23, states that missing property from other suspected burglaries was also recovered from Wieland’s Fargo home.

During a Dec. 6 raid on Wieland’s home, police found several range finders and binoculars reported stolen. They also found the Iraqi money taken the previous night from a home in the 1500 block of 23rd Avenue South whose owners were away on vacation.

The U.S. value of the stolen Iraqi currency is about $17,000, according to the search warrant on Pinks’ cellphone.

Coin sets reported missing in other reported burglaries were discovered in Wieland’s vehicle, the search warrant states.

Fargo police have said Wieland is a suspect in 20 other burglaries over the past 18 months that targeted homes where residents left for the winter.

Eleven guns and $25,000 to $30,000 worth of silver bars reported stolen from the same vacationers’ home where the Iraqi money was stolen remain missing, according to the search warrant.

Wieland was charged Dec. 9 in Cass County court in connection with the string of burglaries, along with a Fargo husband and wife, Christopher Lee Pinks, and Marni Jo Pinks, 38.

Wieland was charged with two counts of Class B felony burglary, and one count of theft and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, both Class C felonies.

Christopher Pinks is charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and Marni Pinks is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, all Class C felonies.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541