2 runaway West Fargo sisters found in North Carolina were reportedly being held against their will
West Fargo police Sgt. Jason Dura said the girls are being picked up and returned to West Fargo by their mother.
A West Fargo police tip led Wilmington police to a Travelodge hotel where they found the girls, ages 15 and 16, who were being paid $20 a day to sell magazines, WECT-TV reported based on court documents.
Two men, Justin Richard Angermeier, 28 and Jeremy Dean Moots, 22, were each charged Wednesday with four counts of human trafficking of a child victim, two charges of second-degree kidnapping, and two charges of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, according to online records.
The two apparently worked for Midwest Circulation, a Cameron, Mo.-based company that boasts an extensive resume of problems documented by the Better Business Bureau and media.
Girls ran away
A West Fargo mother of Bosnian descent asked an English-speaking acquaintance to contact police a week after her daughters ran away with a male believed to be Moots and said they were going to sell magazines on the east coast, Sgt. Dura said.
West Fargo police got the call just before 11 p.m. Monday and began an investigation that would last long into the night.
The acquaintance had a phone number, possibly belonging to the man the girls ran away with, and decided to do some undercover work of her own, Dura said.
“She called that number back and kind of disguised herself as a 17 year old female that wanted to go sell magazines with them,” he said. “So the suspect told [her] to meet him at a hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina.”
Officer Wes Christianson notified the Wilmington police, who checked the hotel and found the two females, Dura said.
Police also found two male cousins from Knoxville, Tenn., who were being held against their will, the Wilmington Star News reported.
Litany of misconduct
The two suspects appeared to be working for a company run by Bridgett Robbins of Cameron, Mo., who faces a litany of misconduct accusations.
A woman who answered a number on Wednesday listed for Robbins said: “My attorney advised me not to make any comment about the situation” and hung up after a reporter identified himself.
A Facebook profile for Moots listed Midwest Circulation as his employer and an Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel report in 2009 linked Angermeier to Midwest Circulation when he was charged with assaulting a man hired to sell magazines.
The Better Business Bureau gave Midwest Circulation an “F” rating because of 133 complaints filed in the last three years. Door-to-door magazine salespeople who said they worked for Midwest Circulation intimidated and lied to residents, the BBB stated in a release last year on its website.
When contacted Wednesday, Wilmington police said no one was available for comment.