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Police: Tobacco store heist was an inside job

The theft of checks and cash from the Tobacco Store in Wadena was an inside job, police said.

The Wadena Police Department said in a release that Luke Bachmann, 20, of Wadena, an employee of the store at the time, reported he had gone outside momentarily to bring garbage to the dumpster when an unknown man took the money from the till and ran from the store. Bachmann told police he had tried to stop the suspect and got into a physical confrontation, but was unsuccessful in detaining him.

But the police department received information from witnesses and others in the community which led investigators to the identification of accomplices in the crime. Officers learned that Bachmann and an 18-year-old from rural Verndale, Joseph Mench, planned the theft and staged the robbery. Through subsequent interrogations, Mench and a 17-year-old juvenile became cooperative and disclosed their involvement in the crime.

Bachmann and Mench were booked in the Wadena County Detention Center on felony charges of burglary, theft and falsely reporting a crime. A juvenile petition was also being prepared to charge the 17-year-old for his involvement.