WAHPETON, N.D. -- Wahpeton and North Dakota authorities are investigating the alleged theft of money raised at a summer fundraiser.
The exact amount of money reported missing has not been made public. An alleged theft occurred following “Oh, For Petey’s Sake,” a Saturday, June 30, benefit at the Wahpeton Eagles Club.
“We’re working to establish if money is gone and how much is gone,” Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson said.
No arrest has been made, Thorsteinson confirmed. A suspect has not been identified as of Monday, Oct. 22. The investigation is ongoing.
Both the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Wahpeton Police Department are investigating. The police department was first notified of the possible theft in late September.
Eagles Club Chairman Cliff Barth declined to comment. Club members are scheduled to meet Wednesday, Oct. 24, to discuss a possible sale of its building to Simonson Station Stores.
“Oh, For Petey’s Sake” was held for Wahpeton High School student Jacob Petermann. Petermann, diagnosed with cancer in January, subsequently underwent chemotherapy and a partial amputation.
His mother, Connie Petermann, in a statement Monday evening, said the situation was as low as it could get.
“Who steals from a child, who’s already lost his leg to cancer, went through excruciating pain and grueling rounds of chemo and two lung surgeries to remove nodules in the last month?” she asked.
According to Petermann, her family was contacted in March by an Eagles Club employee wanting to do a benefit. Agreeing to the benefit ended up causing one of the hardest challenges and stressors the family has had to face.
“I have had many tears and sleepless nights over this,” she continued. “People gave up their weekend, time, talent and money to only be taken advantage of. The generosity and donations of the community was all for nothing.”
After the benefit, Petermann said, she tried several times to make contact. She was unsuccessful in receiving the proceeds.
Having an idea of how successful the benefit was, as well as how much money should have been raised, makes Petermann sick to her stomach. She claimed deposits were made by one person, who ran the silent auction and bake sale.
“That was all put in his account,” she added.
Memories of June 30 are vivid for Petermann.
Jacob Petermann had finished a chemotherapy treatment the day before. He only planned to stay a few hours to avoid getting tired or sick. He ended up staying until 10 p.m., enjoying himself and having a smile from ear to ear.
That smile, Connie Petermann said, has become a questioning stare.
“Why would anyone do this?” she asked. “I have no answers. I only know I have been with my son every minute to help him fight on his journey and I will continue fighting until things are right.”