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New details emerge in South Heart home break-in houses

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Jan. 10—SOUTH HEART, ND — Evan Lee Volk, 26, of Dickinson was arrested on Dec. 23 for allegedly breaking into a house, as previously

reported.

The victim, whose name has been redacted to protect her privacy, had a prior connection to Volk and purportedly allowed him to spend the night on Dec. 22, 2022. She told law enforcement that he passed out on her couch after consuming too much alcohol. Volk left on foot the next day and twice refused a ride to Dickinson from a friend of the victim, according to deputy statements.

Law enforcement became involved when a relative of Volk, who shall also remain unnamed, grew concerned for his safety amid sub-zero temperatures and called in a missing person’s report as Volk reportedly did not possess a working cell phone. Deputies found damage to the victim’s screen door and entryway, which they stated is substantial evidence of his forced and illegal return to the property.

Volk allegedly found two firearms in the home that belonged to the victim, including a shotgun and .40 caliber pistol. Deputies discovered multiple bullet holes and spent shell casings from that handgun.

Volk has an extensive criminal record. In 2019 he pleaded guilty to two class C felony charges of reckless endangerment and one class C felony of preventing arrest or discharge of other duties. For each of those crimes he was sentenced to two years probation and a suspended prison sentence of one year. Other crimes he was found guilty of between 2017 and 2019 include disorderly conduct, menacing, assault and DUI.

Sheriff Corey Lee addressed the South Heart incident during a regular Jan. 5 Stark County Commission

meeting.

He explained that in addition to narcotics detection, the dogs are used as a tool to neutralize dangerous suspects and mitigate safety risks to deputies. Upon arrival at the home deputies received no response when they yelled for anyone present to exit with their hands up.

Stark County canine Thor was deployed to search, clearing a bathroom and kitchen area before locating Volk asleep in a bedroom with the 12 gauge shotgun lying on the mattress, which they later discovered was not loaded. Thor created a barrier between the firearm and Volk, who was then taken into custody without a struggle. Lee said the incident, although unfortunate, was a useful learning opportunity to underscore to his canine handlers the importance of minimizing their own exposure to potentially armed suspects when conducting such a search.

“The program is working, that was a best case scenario. That’s why we have those canines and that’s why I wanted to bring that up,” Lee told commissioners.

Lee provided a document containing multiple written reports to The Dickinson Press. According to that document, Volk exhibited strange behavior during processing and admitted to using illicit substances.

“His behavior was very erratic, with heavy sweating and an inability to calm down. I spoke briefly with Evan in the interview room at the LEC (Law Enforcement Center). I read the Miranda warning. He stated he ingested cocaine and acid earlier in the day,” one of the reports stated. “Evan denied forced entry and stated he had permission to be there.”

Another deputy, Sgt. John Hiltunen, stated in his written report that Volk admitted he had been drinking all day. The report noted that Volk consented to a breathalyzer test, which showed a BrAC (breath alcohol content) of 0.192.

At the time of his arrest Volk was informed that he was being charged with class C felony criminal trespassing and class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. Thor’s handler, Deputy Stephen Byrne, requested that the latter charge be upgraded to class A misdemeanor criminal mischief due to the extent of damages resulting from discharges of the handgun and alleged forced entry. Both Byrne and Sgt. John Hiltunen recommended additional charges of felon in possession of a firearm and class C felony terrorizing.

Byrne justified the possession charge, citing the alleged discharges of handguns and that Volk had control of the shotgun. Hiltunen pointed to several violent threats Volk made against the victim while being transported to the Law Enforcement Center. Hiltunen alleged Volk said he would burn the house down with the victim inside, “kill that f***ing slut” and slit her throat.

“Give some real charges so I don’t kill that b*tch,” Volk allegedly stated.

Hiltunen also reported that Volk made multiple comments saying that he should have used the shotgun to commit suicide.

“Evan kept asking me if I was going to charge him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Evan told me he is a felon and knew he shouldn’t be around firearms,” ​​Hiltunen stated.

According to the state’s judicial website, class C felony criminal trespass is the only charge brought so far by the prosecutor, Assistant Stark County State’s Attorney James Hope. Volk is being legally represented by public defender Kevin McCabe, who requested a bond reduction on Dec. 29. This request was denied in a hearing the following day. His next court appearance will be for a preliminary hearing, tentatively scheduled for 2:30 pm on Jan. 30 at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson. Volk is being held at the Southwest Multi-County Correctional Center on a $5,000 bond.