Crime

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans can now report tips about illegal drugs through text messages. Project Stand Up is a statewide campaign that collects anonymous tips about drug crime. Authorities say the program is part enforcement and part deterrent.

With one word and five numbers, people who suspect illegal drug activity can report it. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says cell phone users text "drugs" to 82257.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The mayor of Sioux Falls is weighing in on the arrest of the former fire chief for possession of child pornography. Wednesday the mayor addressed questions about the situation he calls a tragedy.

Minnehaha County officials announced Monday that Jim Sideras faces 10 counts of possession of child pornography. Authorities executed a search warrant on the former fire chief’s home May 2, which became his last day employed with the city.

Mayor Mike Huether says authorities notified the Sioux Falls Police chief that day, and the police chief informed the mayor.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Law enforcement officers soften their stern authority to better serve people experiencing mental health crises. Training in Sioux Falls tests their ability by simulating real-life scenarios. Twenty-five officials learn new policing strategies in Crisis Intervention Training.

The New Colossus

In The Moment... February 2, 2017 - Show 022, Hour 1

In The Moment ... January 30 2017 Show 019 Hour 2

Guests: SDPB's Kealey Bultena, Senate Bill 55; Karl Jegeris, Rapid City chief of police, talks 2016 crime statistics; SDPB's Karl Gehrke, talks about first jazz recording on record; Richard Carlson, photographer, images of the past

RCPD Seeks Help In Solving Kidnapping Case

Dec 15, 2016
Rapid City Police Department

The Rapid City Police Department is investigating the kidnapping of two adult male subjects by two unknown males.

On Saturday, December third, the two victims were exiting a gas station on the North Side of Rapid City, when police say they were threatened with guns by the subjects who got into the backseat of the victims vehicle. RCPD say the two subjects ordered the driver to head north.

South Dakota Unified Judicial System

South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson discusses the recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force and details the legislative support required to implement suggestions.

Dakota Midday: South Dakotans Pass Marsy's Law

Nov 9, 2016
www.marsyslaw.us

South Dakota voters passed Amendment S with 60% of the vote Tuesday. Amendment S, known as Marsy's Law, establishes constitutional rights for crime victims in South Dakota. SDPB's Victoria Wicks joined Dakota Midday guest host Cara Hetland to provide details on how Amendment S will work.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls doctor is accused of human trafficking after authorities rescued a teenage girl from his home. Officials say they arrested 36-year-old Jonathan Cohen Tuesday after the victim called 911 for help.

Authorities say a 16-year-old from Georgia was reported a runaway in August. Sioux Falls Police Lieutenant Mike Colwill says she met Jonathan Cohen on an internet dating website and traveled to meet him.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Convicted killer Rodney Berget says he wants to stop an appeal that’s preventing him from being put to death, but his attorney can't support the move. The issues are enough to delay major action in Rodney Berget’s case for a few months.

Rodney Berget was in a Minnehaha County courtroom Friday. He wants to end his execution appeal.

Judge Douglas Hoffman asked if he understood that waiving his rights is a path to execution. Berget responded "yes".

That wasn’t enough for the judge to authorize a path to execution that day.

South Dakota Fugitive On ‘Most Wanted’ List

Jul 27, 2016
Department of Justice

A South Dakota fugitive is now on America's top 15 most wanted list. The US Marshals added the alleged child sexual predator to the list. Federal authorities are working with Pennington County law enforcement on the case.

48-year-old David Bonness is wanted by the Pennington County Sheriff and State’s Attorney’s offices for multiple counts of pedophilia and rape. The U.S. Marshals offer a $25,000 reward for information leading directly to his arrest.

Trio Accused Of Contract Killing Plead Not Guilty

Jun 14, 2016
RCPD

Three men accused of stabbing a woman to death last year and hiding her body in a shallow grave near Rockerville have pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges against them, including first-degree murder. 

Paul Dean Jensen was serving life without parole for the murder and kidnapping of Mike Hare when the U.S. Supreme Court gave Jensen a second chance. The inmate was 14 years old when he committed his crimes. He was tried as an adult, and under South Dakota law at the time, his life sentence was mandatory. He spent almost 20 years in prison, and then his sentence was reconsidered at a hearing in Fort Pierre, held on Thursday and Friday last week.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new study shows judicial reforms saved South Dakota $34 million in the first two years. Sweeping changes in mid-2013 included presumptive probation. That means judges sentencing people for low-level felonies keep offenders in communities instead of sending them to prison. Researchers from the Justice Policy Center say initial results are promising, but the work isn’t finished.

A new report indicates changes that keep more offenders out of prison are helping state coffers without risking public safety.

Sioux Falls Argus Leader

A suspect in last weekend’s shooting death at a Sioux Falls casino was captured in southeast Wyoming late Wednesday night.   Jared Stone led police from five states on a manhunt before his arrest.

Stone is accused of killing Baptiste White Eyes last Friday night in front of the Lucky Lady Casino in Sioux Falls.  Stone has apparently been running ever since.  The U-S Marshal’s Service received a tip that Stone was at a home on the Rosebud Indian Reservation—but Marshal Scott Rolstad says the suspect left the home in Mission before police could get there.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people connected to the GEAR UP program and Mid-Central Education Cooperative have been arraigned on accusations of fraud and financial crimes. Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers each pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lake Andes.

Marty Jackley is South Dakota’s Attorney General.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A grand jury has indicted three people for felony crimes related to a Native American education program. State leaders say people within GEAR UP and Mid-Central Education Cooperative used the programs to steal more than one million dollars. Two of them died in a murder-suicide in September. Authorities announced charges against three other leaders last month.  

Former EB5 Leader Faces Felony Charges

Mar 31, 2016

A man who spearheaded South Dakota’s efforts to attract international investors to the state faces felony charges. Joop Bollen is accused of disposing of personal property subject to security interest.

The federal EB5 program offers visas to people from other countries in exchange for $500,000 investments in American businesses. Bollen ran the effort at the International Business Institute at Northern State University in Aberdeen. Then in 2009 the program switched to private administration through Bollen’s company, SDRC, Inc.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The attorney for one of the people charged with felonies related to the Mid Central Education Cooperative in Platte says the state is using his client as a scapegoat. The investigation involves crimes connected to Mid Central and a program called GEAR UP.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people involved with an education cooperative that contracted with state government face criminal charges. South Dakota’s attorney general announced charges of falsifying evidence, conspiracy, and grand theft related to Mid Central Education Cooperative.

Mid Central Education Cooperative gained statewide attention in September when one of its leaders died violently. An investigation revealed that Scott Westerhuis killed his wife and four children before lighting the family home on fire and shooting himself.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Police in Sioux Falls want help solving a missing person case that’s more than four decades old. Authorities say Ellabeth Lodermeier vanished in the '70s when she was 26 years old. Officials are asking for any information available on the anniversary of her disappearance.

Police Detective Pat Mertes says he has indications that Ellabeth Lodermeier is dead, but law enforcement are still trying to figure out what happened when she went missing 42 years ago.

Mertes says Lodermeier’s estranged husband was the last person to see her alive, and she vanished March 7, 1974.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some inmates at the state prison are working to uphold a standard of integrity despite living decades behind bars. The South Dakota State Penitentiary houses people who have committed heinous crimes. It’s also a place where inmates of many faiths can choose to worship.

A Lutheran congregation called St. Dysmas has more than 100 churchgoers in the 700-person prison. They elect council members, and those inmate leaders talk about forming community when their own actions keep them from being part of regular society.

Dakota Midday: Terrorists Using Gaming Consoles

Nov 24, 2015
www.gamepolitics.com

Terrorists are using gaming consoles for some of their communication.  In a 2012 paper, Dakota State University Professor Ashley Podhradsky explained how the communication capabilities of these devices have been exploited by people who plan to commit a variety of criminal activities.  The paper, "The Xbox 360 and Steganography: How Criminals and Terrorists Could be 'Going Dark,'" is pertinent in light of recent terror attacks in Paris and Mali.  Podhradsky joined guest host Lori Walsh to discuss her research.

Former Middle School Teacher Gets 25 Years In Child Porn Case

Nov 16, 2015

Former Rapid City middle school teacher Andrew Hipakka was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempted enticement of a minor on the internet.  
 
The case involves 100-thousand images of child pornography over a two year period and Hipakka’s recorded live chat videos of minors he convinced to perform sex acts over the internet.  Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken also sentenced Hipakka to a lifetime of supervised release.   
 
Viken calls Hipakka a predator.   Prosecutors say this case lead to arrests around the country and world.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Authorities are looking for a man they believe raped a 14-year-old girl in Sioux Falls. Police say the suspect is armed and dangerous, and they want anyone who sees him or the van he’s driving to call 911.

Officials are searching for 41-year-old Frederick McAbee. He’s a black Sioux Falls man who is about 5'9" tall and weighs 165 pounds. Authorities believe he is driving a gray 1999 Chevy Express. That’s a full-size cargo van. The license plate is 1BMC21.

FBI Offers $5,000 Reward In Homicide Case

Nov 2, 2015
FBI

The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in a homicide case on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

On October 20, 2015, the body of 20 year old East  Lee was discovered near Eagle Butte.  Investigators say Lee died from a single gunshot wound to the head.  

Kyle Loven is with the FBI in Minneapolis.

South Dakota authorities say four children and their mother found dead in a house fire last week are homicide victims. Attorney General Marty Jackley says preliminary autopsy results show Nicole, Kailey, Jaeci, Connor, and Michael Westerhuis died of shotgun wounds.

Officials say the sixth person dead is husband and father Scott Westerhuis. He also died of a shotgun wound, and authorities suspect suicide.

On September 17th flames engulfed a home just south of Platte, South Dakota. After first responders put out the fire, officials found a family of six dead.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Two people face felony human trafficking charges after Sioux Falls police met with two victims. Officials arrested one man and one woman accused of sex trafficking, and they took two more people into custody for drug charges.

The human trafficking investigation started Monday when officers found an ad online related to prostitution. They arranged a meeting with two women.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Assistant Police Chief Matt Burns is the mayor’s choice for the next leader of the Sioux Falls Police Department. Current chief Doug Barthel is leaving the force after more than 12 years in command. The newly-announced chief already has priorities for his tenure.

Matt Burns has spent almost 19 years with Sioux Falls Police. He became assistant chief in March. Now Mayor Mike Huether says Burns is his pick to lead the department.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Authorities in Sioux Falls say officials found card skimmers on two bank ATM machines. Thieves place the devices to capture financial information so they can gain access to accounts. Police say this is the first time they’ve found credit card skimmers in the area. 

Officials say they believe no one’s card information is compromised after skimmers recorded sensitive material at two ATMs in the southwest part of the city.

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