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Emily Welker, Published March 26 2014

Three Twin Cities-area men charged in Fargo cellphone store burglary spree

FARGO – Three Twin Cities-area men are accused of breaking into three wireless stores here last year, stealing more than $100,000 worth of cellphones and other products.

Joel Vah Lavien, 22, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., Victor Tombekai Doe, Plymouth, Minn., and Blanyon Toe Davies, Minneapolis, are all charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit theft of property, a Class B felony.

According to documents filed with the charges Tuesday in Cass County District Court, Fargo police were called at about 5 a.m. last April 12 to a burglary report at Verizon Wireless, 4302 13th Ave. S., after a man plowing the parking lot noticed the front window was smashed in.

The door to the storage room and offices were kicked in, and there were two sets of footprints leaving out a window, a police report says. About $30,000 worth of product was gone.

About two hours later, a few blocks away, police were called to another wireless store burglary, at Cellular Communications at 3301 13th Ave. S.

The store owner, Ronald Carlson, told police a window on the north side of the building had been smashed out, and the doors to the inventory rooms were forced open and split.

Eighty-six cellphones were missing, worth a little more than $46,000, Carlson told police. His was the only door in the strip mall that was broken into.

Less than an hour after that, Fargo officers were called to another wireless store burglary, this one at Verizon Wireless, 2790 S. University Drive.

The store manager had arrived to find a display alarm sounding, he told officers. The demo iPad and iPhone 5 were missing, and the north window was busted out of the front of the store. About $28,000 worth of items were gone.

A Rochester, Minn., police investigator working on a Verizon store break-in there contacted Fargo police sometime before last May after interviewing Lavien, who allegedly had been driving Doe and Davies around so they could commit other burglaries at cellphone stores.

The other two had broken in by using rocks, or kicking in doors, Lavien told the Rochester detective, and said Doe was the “head guy” in the break-ins. He denied breaking into the stores himself.

They took the most merchandise from one of the Fargo stores, Lavien said, including phones and iPads.

Lavien also told the Rochester detective they broke into a Verizon store in Alexandria on the way to Fargo, where they stole three iPhones.

The Rochester investigator later called Fargo police to say Doe was arrested in Iowa, and he was in the process of going through Doe’s iPhone. The police report alleges that geotagging showed Doe’s phone was in Fargo in the early morning hours of April 12.

Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for all three men.

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