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Break-in is third crime incident in 8 months at Dent supper club

Lightning has struck three times over the past eight months at the Pickle Factory supper club near Dent--in the form of two break-ins and one arson.

On Sunday morning, Sept. 28, burglars entered the building through the basement, and went upstairs to snatch the till, petty cash, and pull tab money, according to Sharon Baumgart, who owns the popular local hamburger and lounge establishment with her husband Terry.

Cameras, security devices and the alarms indicate that the suspects were outside the building at 12:30 a.m., entered at 1:46 a.m., and were out within three minutes.

"It looks like they knew what they were after," said Baumgart.

Last February, burglars broke in and made off with armloads of liquor.

Then, on July 4--with the Pickle Factory's biggest weekend of the year about to get underway, an arsonist threw some kind of explosive into the building.

The arson case has the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is analyzing the grainy surveillance camera video, said Sharon.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department has indicated that there are "strong suspects," said Sharon. In fact, the incidents may be connected--although authorities are not discussing details during the investigation.

The Baumgarts have only owned the business about one-and-a-half years, and these incidents have all occurred within a short span of their brief ownership.

"We're kind of out in the boonies," commented Sharon, suggesting that the place is an easy target.

"But it looks like we have some suspects...and I'm very happy we have surveillance cameras."

The Sept. 28 break-in did not affect the business operation at the Pickle Factory. Even though Terry and Sharon were in Kansas City, their staff "opened right on schedule," said Sharon.