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Suspected burglar left behind cellphone open to his Facebook profile

FARGO – So much for privacy settings.

Two Fargo men were charged Monday with burglarizing a Harwood, N.D., home after one of them allegedly left his cellphone there with his Facebook app open to his own profile.

Benjamin Paul Emerson, 25, faces one count of burglary, a Class C felony, and his alleged accomplice, Matthew William Hedstrom, 34, faces one count of Class C felony burglary and two counts of theft, one a Class B felony and one a Class A misdemeanor.

According to charging documents filed Monday in Cass County District Court:

Harwood couple Dre Halle and Jonathan Kasowski reported a TV and a computer missing from their home on Jan. 25.

They suspected Emerson, a worker who had recently done construction work at their home and had acted oddly when Halle and Kasowski discovered that pizza and beer had been stolen from the home, police said in a report filed with the charges.

A search warrant filed in the case states that when Halle reported the missing beer and pizza to the owner of the construction company, the owner paid for the missing items and told them he had fired Emerson for drinking on the job.

A Cass County sheriff’s deputy responding to the report of the missing TV and computer found a cellphone on the ground about 10 to 12 feet from the door.

A North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations special agent looked at the phone and saw a Facebook application linked to a page of Ben Emerson.

Text messages in the phone between Emerson and a person named “Matt” led investigators to file a search warrant on Matthew Hedstrom’s south Fargo home, where they discovered tools with the name “Samson Construction” on them.

Assistant Cass County State’s Attorney Reid Brady said that the construction company items included a trailer and “dozens and dozens” of tools, valued at a total of more than $10,000.

According to a report filed with the charges, Hedstrom told a West Fargo police detective he and Emerson had gone out planning to steal items and ended up in Harwood, where Emerson got excited when he saw two people leaving a home. They took the TV, and as they walked out, Emerson was fumbling with a laptop and dropped his end of the TV on the ground, Hedstrom said.

A short time later, Hedstrom told the detective, Emerson could not find his cellphone.

An arrest warrant was issued for Hedstrom on Tuesday. A warrant had not yet been issued for Emerson.

Both men have prior felony theft convictions in North Dakota.

Neither had been arrested yet on the charges.

Emily Welker, INFORUM

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