Texans face one less charge in mink farm case

2011-10-16T00:00:00Z 2012-10-05T18:22:05Z Texans face one less charge in mink farm caseBy Molly Montag mmontag@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY - Two Texans that police say were caught trying to free mink from a Sioux City mink farm will faces multiple charges at a court hearing this week, but attempted burglary is not currently one of them.

Authorities say Kellie Rose Marshall, 21, and Victor Vanorden, 24, were arrested early Monday morning while trying to free mink from a mink ranch near Stone State Park.

Marshall and Vanorden, both of Austin, were arrested on charges that included a felony count of attempted second-degree burglary. However, court documents state those charges were not approved "at this time" at an initial appearance on Oct. 10.

Both are slated to have an initial appearance Thursday in Sioux City.

They still each face a charge of possession of burglar's tools, a misdemeanor, and a charge of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Vanorden also faces a misdemeanor charge of carrying a weapon.

Sioux City police said investigators believe Marshall and Vanorden are animal-rights activists. An official with the Woodbury County Jail said both were being held Saturday in lieu of $5,000 bail each.

According to court documents, Marshall and Vanorden cut an exterior fence at a mink farm on Memorial Drive and then used bolt cutters to cut several holes in a chicken-wire fence. Officers reported in the documents of finding maps, hiking equipment, police scanners, a machete and more than $700 cash in a vehicle parked next to a gate at the property.

It is unclear if any mink got loose. Sioux City police initially said none of the animals got loose, but on Friday said some mink may have escaped briefly before they were recaptured.

In 1997, approximately 5,000 mink and more than 100 silver foxes were released from the same farm. A phone message left at the farm was not returned.

The incident Monday in Sioux City came days after 1,200 to 1,500 mink were released from a farm in Jewell, Iowa.

Sioux City Police Sgt. Jim Cunningham said he was unaware as of Friday of a connection between the incidents in Sioux City and Jewell.

A spokeswoman for the FBI office in Omaha said agents are investigating the Sioux City incident along with state and local authorities. She declined to comment further on the case, citing its status as an ongoing investigation.

Fur Commission USA, a non-profit organization representing mink farmers, reported approximately 1,000 mink also were released Wednesday from a farm in Washington State and 300 were released from a farm in Oregon on Sept. 25.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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