Five men charged after breaking into Grand Forks apartment, assaulting victim, electronically transferring money from victim's account
A Grand Forks man was physically assaulted by five men over $180 they claim he owed them. Charges have been formally filed against two of the defendants, and charges are expected to be filed against the remaining three on Tuesday.
Five people were arrested Sunday, April 12, for allegedly entering a Grand Forks apartment without permission, assaulting the person inside and illegally transferring funds electronically from the victim's account to one of the defendants.
According to a press release from the Grand Forks Police Department, police received a call at 10:55 p.m. Sunday about a prior assault on the 3800 block of Gardenview Drive. Some of the defendants, but not all of them, were known to the victim and were known to be in the same apartment building, according to court documents.
According to an affidavit of probable cause for Keegan Hofstad, 19, of Grand Forks, the victim told police he was in his apartment when seven men walked in and began "demanding money" from him. Two of the seven men removed the victim's roommates from the room, and stayed with them throughout the burglary, according to court documents. The two men who stayed with the roommates have yet been charged with any crime.
The victim told investigators the other five men physically assaulted him and threatened to kill him. Hofstad took the victim's cell phone and used the money transferring app Venmo to transfer $180 from the victim's account into the account belonging to Austen Suedel, 21 of Grand Forks, who is also a defendant in the case.
A Snapchat conversation between the victim and Suedel obtained by police shows Suedel threatening to "kick that door til (sic) someone opens it or it brakes (sic)" due to money the victim owed for "a g of wax," according to court documents.
Court documents noted there were signs of injury on the victim's neck and face. After initial investigation, a search warrant was obtained for the defendants' apartment. Upon execution of the warrant, the defendants unlocked the door and exited the apartment without incident, according to the release.
Speaking to the Herald Monday morning, GFPD Lt. Derik Zimmel said it was likely additional charges would be pressed against the five defendants as the investigation continued throughout the day.
"They're still working on this case right now and are engaged in conversations with the state's attorney office," Zimmel said. "That's why there was not a great deal of detail involved in the release, because to say it's active and open is a bit of an understatement. They're actively working the case right now, and it's likely that additional charges will be forthcoming."
Charges for two of the five defendants were formally filed with the court shortly before 5 p.m. Monday.
Hofstad was formally charged with burglary, accomplice to robbery, theft of property, accomplice to aggravated assault and possession of Adderall without a prescription. If convicted for the most serious charges of burglary and accomplice to robbery, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Jacob Busch, 20 of Fargo, was formally charged with burglary and accomplice to robbery. He also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 for each charge if convicted.
Charges for the remaining three defendants are expected to be filed Tuesday, April 14.
Luke Drougas, 20, of Grand Forks, was charged by police with burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and terrorizing. Mason Demontigny, 19, of Fargo, was charged by police with burglary and robbery. Suedel was charged by police with burglary and robbery.
Hofstad and Busch are scheduled to make their initial court appearance Tuesday. A court date has yet to be set for Drougas, Demontigny and Seudel.