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Fired 18-year-old charged in vehicle theft from former Wagner employer, suspect at-large

The suspect has four other cases pending, including an intentional damage case

Wagner Police.jpg
A patrol vehicle for the Wagner Police Department. Mitchell Republic file photo

LAKE ANDES, S.D. — A recently-fired employee from a small business in Lake Andes was charged after a vehicle was discovered stolen from the business.

Tanner Arpan, 18, of Wagner, was charged with grand theft and third-degree burglary after authorities say he broke into S&S Masonry and stole a company vehicle.

On Nov. 29, police in Wagner were contacted by a man who said his son's business, S & S Masonry, had a vehicle stolen from the property. The business owner and his father showed police surveillance video of a man using an unidentified object to gain entry through a locked door.

The suspect walked through the shop, into the business' office and grabbed a set of keys from where they were stored. He then exited the building, walked directly to a vehicle, and left the property in the vehicle.

The individual in the footage was wearing a black Nike sweatshirt.

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Police asked the business owner about employees or former employees who may have known the building's layout. The owner took some time to think, and later informed authorities he had fired Arpan a few weeks prior.

MORE CRIME: Check out the Mitchell Republic's Crime and Courts section for the latest stories in the area.

When an officer called Arpan, using a number provided by the business owner, Arpan picked up and identified himself. When the officer identified himself as with the Wagner Police Department, Arpan hung up and declined further calls.

Before the call, police had found photos on Arpan's Facebook page wearing a black Nike hoodie, similar to the one worn by the suspect. After the call, photos containing the hoodie had been removed from Arpan's Facebook page.

Days later, the business owner called police again to share a conversation he had with Arpan through text.

In that conversation, Arpan allegedly told the business owner that he had the truck in Rapid City. Arpan said he "didn't plan on being in SD much longer," but that the truck was parked in downtown Rapid City with the keys in it.

Later that day, Arpan told the owner he had sold the truck.

THE VAULT: Check out historical crime stories, cold cases and more from around the Upper Midwest.

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Two days after the text exchange, the business owner located the vehicle not in Rapid City, but in Sioux Falls, out of gas, with a destroyed tire. It was valued at $12,000.

A warrant was issued for Arpan's arrest on Dec. 28.

He's also wanted for failure to appear in court in connection to an intentional damage charge, as well as failure to appear to an underage possession of alcohol charge, both of which were charged in August.

Anyone with knowledge of Arpan's whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Wagner Police Department.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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