Former Leevers manager, accused of theft, to appear in court Monday

Journal Staff

Dave Brustad, 54, who was a manager for Leevers for decades and has been a fixture in Devils Lake, is set to appear in Ramsey County District Court Monday morning at nine.

Brustad has been charged with theft of property, a C felony. The complaint against the former Leevers manager alleges that he issued himself gift cards from the store, then used them to buy groceries amounting to over $1,000.

The exact amount that is alleged to have been stolen is not detailed in the complaint, though that information is likely to surface at an upcoming court hearing.

Monday’s hearing will be Brustad’s first court appearance since his arrest Monday morning. He was released Tuesday afternoon on a $5,000 bond.

Brustad has been a key part of the Stuff-A-Truck drive, which collects food and other goods for the needy in the region around the holidays every year. A manager at Leevers confirmed that Brustad is no longer employed there.

Police reported earlier this week that the alleged fraud may involve other Leevers employees.

Other cases of note this week

Austin Thorsteinson, 25, appeared in court on a felony A child abuse charge.

Thorsteinson was arrested last December after police allege he smashed a two-year-old child’s head into a stereo speaker and a metal table. According to the complaint, Thorsteinson admitted he struck the child in a fit of anger. Thorsteinson’s relationship with the child is not detailed in the complaint.

The state filed a motion to continue the case, which is scheduled for trial next month. The continuance is related to an independent medical examination of the victim, who reportedly suffered a serious brain injury and had signs of some paralysis in his left side during his initial exam.

It was also suggested that a new expert witness may become involved with the case. The medical examination is scheduled for July 12, the same day the trial is scheduled to begin, so it is likely that the trial will be pushed back if no plea deal is agreed upon between the state and Thorsteinson’s defense.

Crystal Senger, 31, appeared in court on several drug charges, the most serious being an A-level felony for allegedly delivering half of a gram of meth to a criminal informant. Senger is also charged with operating a drug house, a C felony, as well as possession of a controlled substance, another C felony.  

Senger faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted on all felony counts. Her next court date is set for July 27.