Thieves target UTVs in region: Clearwater County family offers $15,000 reward
LA PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP—A Clearwater County family is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction after a May 29 fire and burglary at a rural storage shop near Roy Lake.
A member of the family whose building was burned told the Pioneer that two utility-terrain vehicles were stolen from the structure. The fire destroyed two boats, several riding lawn mowers and other equipment.
The burned shop near Roy Lake was newly built, the family said. The perpetrators also tried to steal a tractor parked outside the building. It was "heavily" damaged by the fire.
The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire, according to the sheriff's office.
The May 29 theft and fire came shortly after two other UTVs were stolen in the county, according to Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson. The first two vehicles were stolen out of people's yards, one in mid May and one closer to the end of the month.
Law enforcement is not certain that the three incidents are connected, Halverson said, though there have been other, similar thefts in Beltrami County.
"They are happening in other counties as well, so I don't know kind of what's going on, why they're targeting those type of vehicles," Halverson said.
The stolen side-by-side UTVs are larger and harder to hide than regular all-terrain vehicles, according to Halverson. None of them have been recovered.
"We're just kind of asking the public for some help, too cause we've got very few leads to go on," he said. "Somebody out there knows what's going on, and we haven't heard anything yet."
Anyone with information on the thefts should contact the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office at (218) 694—2525.