FARGO – Two men accused of stealing about $8,700 worth of grain have been cleared of charges after a jury acquitted one of them and the case against the other was dropped.
Keith Strand was charged with one count of theft, and Chad Swanson was charged with a count of conspiracy to commit theft.
A jury acquitted Strand, and the case against Swanson was dropped soon after, prosecutor Tracy Hines said Thursday, July 12.
According to court documents, sheriff’s deputies were sent Nov. 3 to Triple S Farms in Wheatland, N.D., 31 miles west of Fargo, after a witness told the Cass County Sheriff’s Office that Strand left the site with a load of grain taken from a bin not belonging to Strand.
When a deputy contacted Strand by phone, Strand said he was hauling grain belonging to Triple S Farms and selling it because the farm needed the money, court documents stated.
Swanson told a deputy that he told Strand to haul from a particular bin. The witness told the sheriff’s office there was no reason for hauling grain given market conditions at the time, court documents stated.
The owners of the grain that was loaded from the bin in question told authorities they would not have known the loss until the grain was sold in the future, court documents stated.
Strand previously told The Forum much of the information in the court documents was inaccurate and that the grain belonged to Triple S Farms, a company he is a partner in with Swanson and another man.
Hines said Swanson’s case was dismissed in May partly because of Strand’s acquittal in April. It seemed difficult to prove the charge against Swanson beyond a reasonable doubt, she said.