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Three men arrested in case where rural ND man awoke to find masked burglars in home

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Jason Scott Knosalla2 / 4
George Wellington Jerome3 / 4
Daniel Joseph Ganyo4 / 4

THOMPSON, N.D.—Three men have been arrested in connection with a Thompson-area burglary earlier this month where a man awoke to find masked burglars in his home.

Jason Scott Knosalla, 38, and Daniel Joseph Ganyo, 52, both of Grand Forks, as well as George Wellington Jerome, 40, of Manvel, N.D., each were charged Monday in Grand Forks District Court with a Class B felony charge of burglary and three Class C felonies: robbery, interference with a telephone during an emergency call, and theft.

Charges detail a July 9 burglary in which Gordon Thompson, who lives about 5 miles east of Thompson, said he awoke to two or three men wearing masks and carrying flashlights roaming around his house. Thompson said one of the suspects was standing over him with what appeared to be a bat, "making a motion toward him like he was going to hit him" and telling the homeowner not to move, according to court documents. Thompson said the men took his cellphone so he couldn't call 911.

Money, jewelry and electronic devices were among the items reported stolen.

The three suspects were arrested in separate places and were uncooperative, Lt. Gary Grove said. Investigators spoke with Knosalla on Friday, and he said he, Ganyo and Jerome were responsible for the incident, according to court documents.

"Knosalla stated that himself, Ganyo and Jerome went to this specific residence because Jerome was familiar with this residence and believed that the residence contained a safe with cash," court documents stated. "The men didn't think anyone was going to be home."

Knosalla also told officers he was the man who was standing over Thompson but said he was holding a large flashlight, not a bat, according to court documents.

The men returned to the Budget Inn Hotel to divide up the stolen property, but Ganyo was worried about a "wedge-prying" tool he allegedly left to prop open the homeowner's door and a torn latex glove he allegedly left at the house, Knosalla said in court documents. Knosalla said Ganyo went back to break into the house a second time to retrieve the items, the charging documents stated.

Officers investigating the scene of the crime said they saw Ganyo drive by the residence. They conducted a traffic stop and arrested him, according to court documents.

All three men have criminal records in North Dakota, the longest being Knosalla's. He has multiple open cases, including an April case in which he faces multiple charges of unauthorized use of personal information, burglary and property theft. Those charges accuse him stealing a 2009 Buick Lucerne, jewelry, firearms, electronics and using a stolen credit card to make more than $2,100 in purchases.

Ganyo's record includes conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit property theft charges from a January 2016 case in which he pleaded guilty to stealing an ATM from a Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks. He was ordered to serve 29 months in prison, but he was released Jan. 12 on parole from the North Dakota State Penitentiary.

Jerome's North Dakota court record includes multiple drug charges.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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