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North Dakota man to plead guilty to vandalizing Sen. John Hoeven’s Fargo office

Thomas Alexander Starks, 30, signed an agreement last month that states he will plead guilty to one count of injury or depredation against government property.

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Thomas Starks

FARGO — A Lisbon, N.D., man has agreed to admit in federal court to using an ax to smash an intercom and windows at the entrance of a U.S. senator’s office in Fargo.

Thomas Alexander Starks, 30, signed an agreement last month stating he will plead guilty to one count of injury or depredation against government property. He is slated to change his plea on April 19.

The charge stems from an attack on U.S. Sen. John Hoeven’s office on Dec. 21 at 123 Broadway N. Court documents allege Starks walked up to the Republican’s office that morning and rang the intercom. He walked away but returned with an ax, prosecutors alleged.

Starks then smashed the intercom and windows before walking away, according to a complaint. A security camera caught the attack that caused roughly $3,800.

Hoeven serves as North Dakota’s U.S. senator.

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Court documents filed in Cass County District Court said Starks was “very vocal” and left-leaning in his political views. One person told police Starks and his family was hit hard financially during the coronavirus pandemic, but the government was doing nothing to help, according to the documents.

A felony criminal mischief charge in Cass County District Court was dismissed so the U.S. Attorney’s Office could pursue charges.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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