FARGO, N.D. — A man whose pay loader was confiscated by a North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent and then lost in transit has filed a federal lawsuit against the agent and others involved in moving the loader out of state.
The loader was seized in May 2014 from Darrell Schrum’s shop in Forbes after it was found to be stolen. Schrum says he didn’t know the background of the loader and bought it in good faith, which makes him the rightful owner. The loader has not been found.
“This has been a nightmare situation for a North Dakota citizen who has been abused and ignored by those sworn to protect his interests,” Schrum’s attorney, Neil Roesler, told The Associated Press on Monday.
The complaint filed last week against BCI agent Arnie Rummel and other defendants who helped transport the loader says the search and seizure was illegal and the actions violated Schrum’s right to due process. It seeks unspecified damages, including the cost of the loader and repairs he made after buying it on eBay in late 2013.
A spokeswoman for North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem would not immediately comment.
A state judge at one point had ordered Rummel to pay Schrum nearly $54,000 for the loader, after finding the agent in contempt of court for failing to meet a deadline to return it. The state Supreme Court overturned that order last year, saying it didn’t comply with requirements for claims against the state, including the filing of a written notice with the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Roesler said the Supreme Court did not reverse the judge’s opinion that Schrum owned the pay loader and that Rummel was in contempt.
“Despite repeated requests and court orders, the defendants and the state of North Dakota have not offered to compensate Darrell in any way for his loss at their hands,” Roesler said. “They have not even offered an apology.”