by April Scheinoha
Two men have been arrested for a burglary early Thursday morning at McDonald’s in Thief River Falls.
Charges are pending against Brian Allen Torkelson, 24, unknown address, and Justin Rick Hopper, 25, Thief River Falls. They remain in custody at the Pennington County Jail, according to a press release from Police Chief Dick Wittenberg.
They allegedly entered through the business’ drive-through shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday. Torkelson and Hopper then stole a safe believed to contain about $4,000. One of the burglars was armed with a short-barrel shotgun. The burglary was discovered by an employee at 4:50 a.m. Thursday.
The safe was loaded into a stolen 1999 Chevy Suburban. The owner reported the vehicle stolen at 4:48 a.m. Thursday. It had been parked at 112 Breezy Dr., a short distance from McDonald’s. Wittenberg earlier said police found the vehicle about four hours later in the parking lot of Chief Red Robe Park. The police report indicated that the vehicle had sustained about $5,000 worth of damage.
Torkelson and Hopper also allegedly burglarized a home in rural Pennington County.
While investigating the above burglaries, three other people were arrested on unrelated charges. They included Shane Michael Drury, 35, and Haley Jo Haugen, 33, both of Thief River Falls. They were arrested on charges of fifth degree controlled substance crime. They allegedly possessed methamphetamine. Ryan Adam Benoit, 27, Thief River Falls, was arrested on a Minnesota Department of Corrections warrant.
Other agencies involved in the investigation included the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Seven Clans Casino and Red Lake Tribal Police.