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Mandan police officer accused of burglary of ex-girlfriend's house is fired, bonds out

MANDAN, N.D.--The Mandan Police officer arrested Saturday produced his badge to a security company in order to gain access to his ex-girlfriend's home, court documents allege, and has now been fired.

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TOM STROMME /Bismarck Tribune Mandan police chief Jason Ziegler met with the media to discuss the weekend firing of patrolman Zachary Brown, 29, from the city police department.

MANDAN, N.D.-The Mandan Police officer arrested Saturday produced his badge to a security company in order to gain access to his ex-girlfriend's home, court documents allege, and has now been fired.

In fact, Zachary Brown had hardly used his badge. He was hired by the department less than three months ago and had never been on patrol or made an arrest, Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler said at a press conference Monday. He was fired immediately after the arrest.

Ziegler said he fired Brown, because of the high standard he expects of police in the community. Because it was his first year with the department, Brown was on probation, meaning he could be fired for any reason.

"That's part of policing ourselves," Ziegler said. "We are responsible and accountable to the citizens of Mandan."

South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick set bond for Brown at $1,500 cash on Monday. Romanick also ordered the 29-year-old to turn his firearms over to the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department and have no contact with the burglary victim.

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The state and defense agreed to the bond terms, given Brown's "volatile personal relationship" with the victim, said Assistant Burleigh County State's Attorney Ryan Keefe.

"We think this is a bond that will allow him to get out and get to work," said attorney Justin Vinje, who represented him at the bond hearing.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Bismarck police officers responded to the reported burglary at 8:07 a.m. Saturday and found the door leading from the garage to the victim's house and a basement access door inside the garage had been forced open.

The victim told police that photographs of Brown, which had been stored elsewhere in the house, were placed in her bedroom and picture frames that had contained pictures of her family had been replaced with pictures of the accused.

The victim also told police a box under her bed containing her Social Security card, passport and other personal items was missing. Her bed had been made before she left the house but, when she returned, it appeared as if someone had slept in it.

Home surveillance cameras had been moved and appeared to have been remotely cleared Wednesday through Friday.

According to the affidavit, a witness in the neighborhood told police he had seen Brown's truck at the home. Another witness saw a grey van with three men pull into the driveway, force the garage open and enter carrying flashlights. One of the men stayed at the residence after the other two left. The victim identified the van as belonging to a friend of Brown's.

Police found Brown had called Guardian Lock Service Friday to gain access to the residence, claiming it was his own home. The business said Brown had produced a Mandan Police Department Badge and identified himself as an officer.

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Ziegler said Brown was hired by the department on April 25. He was attending the police academy at Bismarck State College and would have started field training in September.

"There was nothing in his background that would indicate behavior like this," Ziegler said.

Prior to being hired by the department, Brown served as an infantryman in Iraq and also as a driller in the oil fields, Vinje said. Brown is originally from Dickinson.

If convicted, Brown could face up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines for felony burglary.

Related Topics: MANDAN
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