Wolf Point Herald

Gold Dust Burglary Believed Linked To North Dakota Crime Ring

A burglary at the Gold Dust Casino east of Bainville Wednesday, Jan. 7, has been linked to a Williston, N.D., crime ring.
Seven people ― five men and two women ― are alleged to have stolen from 15 businesses and are facing a total of 169 charges in Williams County District Court in North Dakota. According to a North Dakota court affidavit, the thefts include a safe, vehicles, a jackhammer and a drone.
Additional charges in Montana are expected following an investigation by the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.
RCSO undersheriff John Summers said the RCSO is working with North Dakota authorities.
“We collected some evidence. A cash drawer was thrown into a ditch,” Summers said. “Video from the Gold Dust Casino showed a pickup. We’re building our case.”
The RCSO sent the video to be enhanced and the cash drawer was sent to a forensics lab for additional fingerprints to be lifted.
RCSO Sgt. Tim Lingle has interviewed a male suspect in the Williams County Corrections Center who is believed to be part of the crime ring.
“Williams County detectives invited him to come down to do an interview,” Summers said.
He said Lingle will conduct a follow-up interview soon.
Summers said Lingle is also working with North Dakota police and Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement with an investigation of a burglary of a smoke shop just east of the state line that occurred shortly before the Gold Dust burglary. Summers said he believes the BIA is involved because the smoke shop might be owned by a North Dakota tribe.
Following the Gold Dust burglary, that occurred between 6:18 and 6:45 a.m., a witness saw two people flee in a Toyota Tacoma pickup east on U.S. Hwy. 2 into North Dakota.
Williams County Sheriff’s Capt. Verlan Kvande said Friday, Feb. 6, that four of the seven individuals were lodged in the Williams County Corrections Center, two had bonded out and there was an outstanding warrant for one person.
Kvande identified the seven individuals as: Brian Campbell of Oklahoma; Ernesto Difabio of Pennsylvania; Justin Johnson of Williston, wanted on an outstanding warrant; Connie Kritikos of Williston; Jesse Kritikos of Williston; Shawn Kritikos of Williston; and Bridget Whritenour of Williston.
Some of the people involved are also facing drug charges in North Dakota.
Neither Summers, nor Kvande, identified which of the seven individuals are suspects in the Gold Dust Casino burglary.
Summers said the investigation is continuing and charges will be filed at some point in the future. Those individuals would face charges in 15th District Court in Wolf Point.

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School Board Opens Door To Administrators Coaching

More than two months after several parents and some school district personnel told the Wolf Point School Board they disagreed with an unwritten policy that precluded school administrators from coaching, the board voted, Monday, Feb. 9, to open the door for the superintendent, principals and the athletic director to apply for coaching positions.
The board voted 4-0 to allow administrators to have equal opportunities to apply for coaching positions.
“I don’t know if I agree with it, but we have to do something,” school board chairman Martin DeWitt said.
He had questioned whether the change would be the right move for the district during the previous two board meetings.
DeWitt said during the December meeting that he was concerned whether a system of checks and balances would be in place if an administrator were to serve as a coach and evaluate him or herself. DeWitt said there could be a loss of the level of chain of command.
The approval came during an approval of extra-curricular evaluation procedures.
It includes that coach evaluations will be completed at the conclusion of each season, head coaches will give input on the evaluation of their assistant coaches and individual evaluations will be held by two administrators and the activities director if a plan of improvement is needed or dismissal is recommended.
Activities director Mike Erickson said during the December school board meeting that Glasgow — a high school the size of Wolf Point — has a football coaching staff of seven while Wolf Point had two [staff coaches] in 2014. He said it is sometimes difficult finding coaches. Erickson was not present for the meeting Monday.
The approval includes that no more than two administrators or the activities director may coach during any single season and that no administrator or activities director may coach during more than two seasons.
Other restrictions include: if an administrator or activities director holds a coaching position, the evaluation will be by the superintendent and principal; the superintendent and principal will evaluate the activities director concerning that individual’s coaching duties; and the superintendent and activities director would evaluate a superintendent’s coaching duties.

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Frontier Science Fair


Frontier School held a science fair, Monday, Feb. 9. The top finishers will advance to a regional science fair in Havre Tuesday, March 10, with an chance to advance to state competition in Missoula, Monday, March 16.  Pictured are (front row, from left to right) Austin Babb, Michael Goodman, Nichole Morocco, (back row) Kaleb Neubauer, Carter Pedersen and Terry Allmer. The top two overall winners, Quilanna Cheff and Tiara Whitmus, are not pictured. Babb finished third overall. Prizes included $100 from Nemont, $75 from Wolf Point Federal Credit Union, gift cards, movie passes from Prairie Cinema and pizza from Town Pump.   (Photo by John Plestina)

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RCSO, Tribes Honor U.S. Marshal At Retirement


Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick (right), jail supervisor Melvin Clark (left) and Bruce Bauer, representing the Fort Peck Tribes with retiring U.S. Marshal Mike Penland of the Great Falls District court office. Penland wears a star quilt that was presented to him during a going away dinner. He served the Fort Peck, Rocky Boy, Fort Belknap and Blackfeet reservations for over a decade helping track down fugitives from each area along with providing training to local agencies.
(Submitted photo)

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Ambulance Donated To Israel


Rev. Frank Lenihan of Lustre, senior pastor of the Lustre Mennonite Brethren Church, with his wife Debbie and son Elijah, 10, stand at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., during the dedication of an ambulance given to the people of Israel Thursday, Feb. 5, from Bridges for Peace, a Christian outreach of unconditional friendship to Israel and the Jewish community. Lenihan serves on the national board of directors of Bridges For Peace.    (Submitted photo)

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