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Clay sheriff probes case of cold cash

A former Realtor accused of trying to steal $800 from a freezer during an open house faces two charges of attempted theft. Kathryn Grady-Thurston, 56, 1361 5th St. N., Fargo, appeared Monday in Clay County District Court. Court records say: The C...

A former Realtor accused of trying to steal $800 from a freezer during an open house faces two charges of attempted theft.

Kathryn Grady-Thurston, 56, 1361 5th St. N., Fargo, appeared Monday in Clay County District Court.

Court records say:

The Clay County Sheriff's Department responded to a theft report Feb. 6 at 6201 Oakport St. N. near Moorhead.

Darrin Wixo, an agent with Kvamme Real Estate in Moorhead, told investigators he was hosting an open house for clients Steven and Debbie Vigesaa.

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Grady-Thurston, then a real estate agent for Metro Realtors in Fargo, arrived at the open house. At some point she was in the kitchen with Wixo until he left the room to talk to prospective buyers.

Wixo told authorities he heard some noise in the kitchen and returned to find Grady-Thurston trying to hide something.

Wixo discovered she removed a plastic bag containing money from the freezer, court records say.

The Vigessas told investigators they keep about $800 in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Grady-Thurston declined to comment Monday. Her attorney, Bruce Quick, said it's too early to know how they will proceed with the case.

She has no prior criminal record, Quick said.

Steven Vigesaa said Monday that Grady-Thurston left a business card at the home before the open house indicating she had been there to look at it.

He said he suspects she looked for valuables while alone in the home and tried to steal the money during the open house so the theft couldn't be traced to her.

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"She probably checked the whole house out," Vigesaa said. "My guess is this isn't her first time."

The day of the incident, Grady-Thurston said she was at the open house waiting for clients, but the clients never arrived, Vigesaa said.

The cash was in the freezer because his wife wanted to store it there, Vigesaa said, adding they no longer use that as a hiding place.

Wixo declined to comment.

Dan Madsen, a broker for Metro Realty, said Grady-Thurston was terminated as soon as he learned of this incident.

Madsen said he canceled her real estate licenses in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Grady-Thurston was issued a North Dakota real estate license in 1984, said Pat Jergenson, secretary-treasurer for the North Dakota Real Estate Commission. The license has been listed as inactive since Feb. 9, she said.

There is no record of disciplinary action against Grady-Thurston in North Dakota, Jergenson said.

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Information about her Minnesota license was not current on the Department of Commerce Web site.

Grady-Thurston will appear in court again on May 23.

Judy Gehrke, who has served as executive officer of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Association of Realtors since 1988, said she has never heard of another theft charge involving a Realtor.

"This is an isolated case," she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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