Two men from Wheatland, N.D., are accused in Cass County District Court of taking about $8,700 worth of grain that didn’t belong to them from a storage bin at a seed company in Wheatland, 31 miles west of Fargo.
Keith A. Strand is charged with one count of theft, while Chad M. Swanson is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft.
Strand maintained In a phone interview Thursday evening, Nov. 16, that neither he nor Swanson has done anything wrong.
According to court documents:
Deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched on Nov. 3 to Triple S Farms, formerly known as Swanson Seed Service.
A witness told the sheriff’s office he saw Strand leave the farmstead with a load of grain the witness asserted was taken from a bin containing grain that didn’t belong to Strand.
When a deputy contacted Strand by phone, Strand said he was hauling grain belonging to Triple S Farms.
Strand told the investigator Triple S Farms was going through internal issues involving money and partners and that the farm needed money, so he was selling the grain.
Asked whether he thought it was possible the grain was taken from the wrong grain bin, Strand paused before stating he didn’t think so, the court documents say.
Strand told the deputy to contact “Chad,” who Strand said would vouch for him.
A deputy spoke to Chad Swanson in the office of Triple S Farms.
Court documents say Swanson, who told the deputy he had been running the seed service for about two months, gave inconsistent answers, stating first that he didn’t know which bin Strand loaded from and later stating he told Strand to haul from a particular bin.
Given current market conditions, the witness who reported the incident told authorities there was no reason anyone would be hauling grain from any of the bins at this time.
The owners of the grain that was loaded from the storage bin in question told authorities that if no one had seen who took the grain, they would never have known about the loss until they tried to sell the grain at some point in the future.
According to the court documents, the load of grain that was sold was valued at about $8,700.
The court documents also state that both Strand and Swanson told authorities they had a financial interest in Triple S Farms and they were low on funds.
They also said they had acted together to haul the grain to be sold, the court documents said.
Strand said in the phone interview Thursday that he hauled grain belonging to Triple S Farms, a company he said he is a partner in with two other men, including Chad Swanson.
Strand maintained that a lot of the information contained in the court documents is not accurate, particularly any references to money issues at Triple S Farms.
“There’s nothing where we needed money,” Strand said.
Referring to investigators, Strand said he told them: “It’s our beans. If you wanna think you’re going to prove that they’re somebody else’s, well prove it then. Show me something. Nobody’s been able to do that,” Strand said.