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Sebeka councilman faces more charges

Less than a month after being charged with theft in Hubbard County, Sebeka City Councilman Randy Lee Pickar, 52, faces three theft-related charges in Wadena County District Court.

A court complaint said Pickar hauled scrap metal belonging to the city of Sebeka to St. Cloud, sold the metals for thousands of dollars, and pocketed most of the profit. Three charges were filed against Pickar in Wadena County on March 14: theft -- take/use/transfer movable property with no consent, theft by swindle and public officers -- interest in contract violation.

Pickar had been charged in Hubbard County District Court on Feb. 19 with theft of property or services under $500, after allegedly using his ex-wife's ATM card to withdraw money without permission.

Pickar denied that charge in an interview with the Pioneer Journal, calling the charge "crap" and "lies and false allegations."

In Wadena County Court documents, Pickar admitted he had sold the scrap metal for profit without prior consent from the city of Sebeka.

Wadena County Attorney Kyra Ladd said only after being confronted about the discrepancy at a Sebeka City Council meeting, Pickar turned in $422.80 to the city, for which a hand-receipt was drawn up, for 302 pounds of copper at $1.40 a pound. But the St. Cloud company that bought the scrap metal from Pickar said at the time, copper was going to between $2.25 and $2.75 a pound, and receipts given to Pickar in his own name show the sales of 478 pounds of copper at those quoted prices at that time.

Checks were made out to Pickar, and he cashed them.

"Those checks should have been made out to the city of Sebeka," Ladd said.

The receipts and checks were made out in late September and early October, Ladd said, but no receipt was drafted until November.

"The time lines become very critical," she said.

Ladd said the investigation is continuing in the case, because a city employee, Gary Klovstad, assisted Pickar in loading the scrap metal onto Pickar's transport vehicle. Ladd said the investigation is trying to determine if Klovstad was part of the scheme, or if he was just being a helpful employee.

"It really becomes a question of who knew what when," Ladd said.