Weather Forecast


City laptop stolen from council member's house

Police quickly located a laptop belonging to the city of Wadena, which disappeared from council member Jeanette Baymler's house Feb. 4.

Baymler said she realized the device - one of five issued to council members and the mayor - was missing upon her return from a church meeting that afternoon. Nothing else was stolen from the house, she said.

Police recovered the password-protected laptop at PB Pawn Shop in downtown Wadena.

"Now my computer is at the police station and I can't have it because it's evidence," Baymler said.

In the meantime, she's used her personal computer to stay up-to-date on council business.

"It's gotten kind of complicated," Baymler said.

Sgt. Brandon Pearson, who is investigating the case, said authorities believe they know who committed the crime, but he is waiting for the city prosecutor to determine if there is enough evidence to file charges.

He said it appears the laptop was stolen so the suspect could sell it for cash.

"It wasn't for the information that was on the computer," Pearson said.

The city-provided computers, which allow paperless distribution of council agenda packets for members, don't contain much sensitive information, said city administrator Brad Swenson.

Baymler said the suspect received $75 for the laptop and when police found it, it was for sale for $350.

"Neither parties were very smart because there was a tag on it with an identifying number for the city of Wadena," she said.

At PB Pawn Shop Monday, owner Dick Barsness said he couldn't remember the incident.

"I have a lot of people come through here," he said.

Pearson said police believe Barsness received stolen property without knowing it and is himself a victim of a crime.

Baymler, the initial victim, sent a group email to her children letting them know about the theft. They suggested she start locking her doors.

"Since the horse is stolen, I have locked the barn," Baymler said, adding, "It was very minor. A lot of worse things could have happened to me."