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$12,000 fur coat reported stolen from Grand Forks party bus, $1,000 reward offered

After spending the night traveling around Grand Forks in a party bus, Lisa Johnson and her friends ate an early morning breakfast at the Big Sioux truck stop.

When they got back on the bus an hour and a half later, Johnson's coat was gone.

It wasn't just any old coat. It was a full-length, fox and coyote fur coat that cost $12,000. Johnson's fiance, a farmer from Minto, N.D., had given it to her two days before as an engagement present.

"There's a huge meaning behind the coat," said Johnson, 29. "I'm just sick over it."

She suspects a young person, possibly one of several college students who were at the truck stop, took the coat that was draped over a seat near the front of the bus.

The bus was not locked, and Johnson figures the thief forced the door, which usually requires a tool to open. She said the bus driver was in the truck stop with her group. She said purses, iPods and other jackets were left on the bus, but the only thing taken was her coat.

The theft reportedly occurred sometime between 2 and 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Grand Forks police Lt. Rahn Farder said no surveillance cameras captured the crime outside the truck stop at 4401 32nd Ave. S.

He encouraged anyone with information about the theft to call police at (701) 787-8000. Those who want to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers group at (701) 746-1000.

Johnson said she's alerted pawn shops in the area and has been checking websites to see if the coat is up for sale. She's been running an ad in the Herald's city briefs section, offering a $1,000 reward to whoever returns the coat.

The coat, which is white and tan, has a gold-colored, silk lining that's embroidered with Johnson's name in brown, cursive writing. "This coat is one of a kind, if you see someone with one please ask to see the inside," the Herald ad says.

Because full-length fur coats aren't common attire in the Grand Forks area, Johnson expects that anyone who wears her coat will stand out.

She said she got attention wearing it to the UND men's hockey game Saturday night. "I had a ton of people complimenting me on it," she said.

Losing the coat left her in tears. And while she knows it's a "material possession," she said, it's one with a great deal of sentimental value.

"That's something that you hand down to your daughter," she said.