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Fargo police recover most of $17,000 in Iraqi currency stolen from snowbirds

By Emily Welker / The Forum

FARGO – Police here have recovered most of about $17,000 worth of Iraqi currency stolen from a Fargo home in connection with a ring of burglars who allegedly targeted the homes of people on vacation.

A search warrant filed Dec. 23 in Cass County District Court for the cellphone of one of the alleged ring members, Christopher Pinks, 39, of Fargo, states police found about 18 million Iraqi dinars during a search of the home of another alleged burglar, Daniel Joe Wieland, 36, of Fargo. One million Iraqi dinars is worth about $870, according to online sources.

Court documents filed by investigators allege missing property from other suspected burglaries also was recovered from Wieland’s home.

The value of the stolen Iraqi currency is about $17,000, according to investigators.

Coin sets reported missing in other reported burglaries were discovered in Wieland’s vehicle, the search warrant states.

Fargo police have said Wieland is a suspect in 20 other burglaries since mid-2012 which targeted homes of "snowbirds," people who leave Fargo for the winter.

Eleven guns and $25,000 to $30,000 worth of silver bars reported stolen from the same home where the Iraqi money was stolen remain missing, according to the search warrant.

Wieland was charged Dec. 9 in Cass County court in connection with the string of burglaries. Also charged were a Fargo husband and wife, Christopher Lee Pinks, and Marni Jo Pinks, 38.

Wieland was charged with two counts of Class B felony burglary, and one count of theft and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, both Class C felonies.

Christopher Pinks is charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and Marni Pinks is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, all Class C felonies.

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