A Thief River Falls man was sentenced Tuesday, April 25 in Pennington County District Court for two separate felony offenses.
Benjamin Francis Bren, 37, was sentenced for felony offenses of theft and offering a forged check. For the theft charge, Bren was granted a five-year stay of imposition. As a condition of that sentence, he was ordered to serve 90 days in jail currently with another case. Bren was given credit for 12 days served. Work release and Sentence to Serve privileges were granted. He was ordered to serve supervised probation for five years. Bren was also ordered to undergo chemical and gambling assessments. He was ordered to provide a DNA sample. Bren was ordered to not use or possess firearms, ammunition or explosives. He was also ordered to pay $210 in fees and fines.
The charge stemmed from an Aug. 27 report that a firearm had been stolen at 510 State Ave. N., according to the complaint. Bren stole a .22 pistol and replaced it with a CO2 powered BB gun. The owner confronted Bren, who admitted stealing the gun. He gave Bren a 24-hour deadline to return the gun. Bren failed to return the gun, and the owner reported the theft to police.
The owner said that Bren told him the gun was located at another man’s home in the 100 block of Sixth St. E. The latter man told police that Bren offered to sell him a black pistol about two weeks earlier. He said he wasn’t interested. Bren told police that he replaced the stolen pistol with the BB gun, hoping the owner wouldn’t notice. He said that he owed $50 to the Sixth Street resident and gave the gun to him as collateral. Bren said the man disposed of the gun. For the separate felony offense of offering a forged check, Bren was granted a five-year stay of imposition. As a condition of that sentence, he was ordered to serve 90 days in jail currently with another case.
Bren was given credit for 10 days served. He was ordered to serve supervised probation for five years. The same conditions apply. That charge stemmed from a Nov. 14 report from a Goodridge woman, who said two checks totaling $415 were forged from her account. Both checks were written to Bren and indicated that they were written for “work on house,” according to the complaint. The woman said she never wrote the checks, he didn’t work on her house and she didn’t owe him money. The woman said Bren was her granddaughter’s former husband, and she hadn’t spoken to him for quite some time until he arrived at her home six days earlier. She said the visit felt different than usual. After he left, she realized the checks were missing and later learned that they had been forged.