Stephen J. Lee, Forum News Service, Published January 17 2014
2 Twin Cities men charged in Grand Forks Happy Harry's liquor theft
Grand Forks police said a watchful customer, a clear photo from the store’s security camera and a nearby police department’s day-before experience with the men combined to identify the alleged liquor lifters.
The Grand Forks County State’s Attorney’s Office Friday charged Todd Anthony Secord, 49, of Minneapolis and David Edward Snyder, 56, of Bloomington, Minn., each with a felony count of theft.
They are accused of stealing the bottle of Remy Martin’s Louis XIII cognac from inside a locked glass case, and three other bottles of liquor, off the shelf but pretty pricey themselves.
It happened during a busy time at Happy Harry’s on 32nd Avenue South, between 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 29, said owner Hal Gershman.
Neither man was in custody Friday, but arrest warrants have been filed, said police Lt. Jim Remer.
Both men have criminal records in Minnesota including theft charges, according to state court records.
Grand Forks Police Detective Cody Cannon, in his probable cause affidavit filed Friday, said besides the $2,600 bottle of cognac, the two men stole a bottle of Glenlivet 18-year-old Scotch whisky, a bottle of Courvoisier VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) cognac and a bottle of Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur.
Remer said the key clue was the surveillance video from inside Happy Harry’s that provided a clear image of the two men gazing intently at shelves of liquor bottles. The image was published by news companies across the region.
Many calls came in suggesting names to fit the faces, but it was a call from a nearby police department that did the trick, Remer said.
“We did get a call from an officer with the Moorhead PD and they had dealt with these people around the same time we did,” Remer said Friday.
According to Cannon, here’s how the case came together:
A customer told a store employee about the theft and the employee watched the men leave the parking lot in a late 1990s teal-colored minivan.
Once the photo of the two men had circulated in the region, Detective Seth Saarinen of the Moorhead Police Department called Grand Forks police. He said the day before the Grand Forks theft, he had interviewed the two men about an attempted theft in Moorhead. Saarinen sent his photos of the men taken Dec. 28 in Moorhead to Cannon, who said they clearly matched the two men seen in Happy Harry’s in Grand Forks.
Saarinen also said that on Dec. 28 in Moorhead they were driving a teal 1998 Plymouth minivan registered to Snyder.
Saarinen had scheduled interviews with the men Jan. 7, but they didn’t show, so he set them again for Jan. 10. Again, they were no-shows and Saarinen hasn’t seen them since, Cannon said in his affidavit.
Remer said he didn’t know of any connection the men might have to Grand Forks or why they were here.