BISMARCK — The former director of the Hands of Christ Food Pantry in Bismarck and his wife are among four people facing charges of felony stealing in complaints filed by St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod D. Mahurin.
In the complaints, Michael Dane, 52, and his wife, Katherine Sue, 56, of Ironton; and Terry Gene Purcell, 44, and Crystal Dawn Kelly, 38, both of Mineral Point; are accused of committing the class C felony of stealing from the not-for-profit food pantry between the dates of January and June 2011.
The complaints state that each of the defendants, “acting alone or in concert with another, appropriated food and supplies of a value of at least $500 from Hands of Christ Ministries…and appropriated such property without the consent of Hands of Christ Ministries and with the purpose to deprive it thereof.”
If found guilty of the charges, the four defendants face up to seven years in the state penitentiary, up to a year in the county jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
Mahurin made a bond request of $10,000 on each of the defendants.
In an accompanying probable cause statement submitted by Officer Amy Brenneke of the Bismarck Police Department, it states that Hands of Christ Food Pantry Board President Steven Devine “noticed that the food pantry was missing eight deep freezers worth of frozen food and a tractor trailer-sized load of various non-perishable food and cleaning supplies.”
He further stated that Purcell and Kelly “would take the stolen food, beverages and cleaning supplies from the Hands of Christ shelter and sell them” at Lyn’s New and Used Auction and the Hopewell Auction, both in Mineral Point; and Big John’s Auction in Bunker.
The probable cause statement goes on to say that Devine provided Officer Brenneke a typed statement from Linda East, owner of Lyn’s New and Used Auction in which she said that “Purcell and Kelly began selling items in her auction approximately the first part of March 2011 and ceased in August 2011.”
The pair, continued East, “sold such items as: Gain, Tide, Ariel, Downey, Mr. Clean and Propel and Half and Half beverages.”
Brenneke stated that East provided receipts showing Kelly made a profit of $286.66, and Purcell a profit of $1,065.95 from the stolen merchandise.
The officer further stated that Devine said, “Michael Dane had allowed Kelly and Purcell access to steal the merchandise and in return…would split the profits from the auctions.”
After Dane was removed as director, Devine and the pantry’s board of directors took over day-to-day management of the ministry, setting in place safeguards to assure that food and monetary donations go only to those they are meant to help.
Kevin R. Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or at email@example.com.