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Jamestown 25-year-old accused of stealing from grandpa dying of cancer

FARGO – A 25-year-old Jamestown man is accused of racking up about $11,000 in unauthorized charges on his grandfather’s credit cards in the last days of the older man’s life, as he was dying of pancreatic cancer.

According to court documents filed in Cass County District Court, a Fargo police investigator received a call from First National Pawn shop, reporting a suspicious transaction.

The employee reported that a person, later identified as Levi David Thene, had come in on May 13 and pawned two laser levels for only $325.

The employee told the investigator Thene had a receipt showing the levels had just been bought within the past hour at a local Menards.

The shop employee was concerned it was an issue of credit card fraud, since the levels had been sold for pennies on the dollar, a police report says.

The investigator tracked the credit cards to Janet Erickson, of West Fargo, Levi Thene’s grandmother, who said her husband Paul had died May 5 of pancreatic cancer.

His widow, upset, explained to the investigator that her husband had only been diagnosed April 11 and had gone in for surgery three days later, according to court documents.

The investigator found that Thene had attempted nearly $15,000 in charges on three different credit cards of his grandfather’s, but at least two of them were shut down before he could complete the transactions.

Thene allegedly made more than $3,000 in purchases on his grandfather’s First National Card, starting April 14 and going until the card was shut down.

After that, on April 24, Thene turned to his grandfather’s Wells Fargo card, charges about $6,100.

Then, on May 5, Thene allegedly began a five-day spending spree on his grandfather’s Chase card, attempting about $5,800 in transactions but only completing about $1,750 before that, too, was shut down.

The total came to $10,865.62 in purchases, court documents allege.

In a phone call to the investigator, Thene allegedly said the incidents were based on a misunderstanding. He later allegedly left a voicemail for the investigator saying he had authorization to use “the card” from his grandfather.

Thene was charged Friday in Cass County District Court with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a Class B felony.

He has a criminal history that includes multiple drug offenses and convictions for burglary and theft. His next court appearance is set for July 16.