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Kids Against Hunger suspect known but no arrest in case

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A suspect has been determined in the theft and arson of a Park Rapids church group's food supplies, but not arrested yet.

Police are continuing to investigate the case, but are keeping a watchful eye on the man they believe stole an SUV, trailer and food supplies belonging to Kids Against Hunger last month from the Faith Baptist Church parking lot on Highway 71 South.

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The food supplies would have made 20,000 rice-based meals that are shipped overseas by area youth groups.

The theft and arson outraged Hubbard County residents and provoked a heated exchange on the Enterprise Web site.

Some contributors even suggested suspects before the comments were pulled from the story, most for violations of the Web comment policies that are posted on the site.

The vehicle and trailer were located the day after the theft near Pine Point, burned beyond recognition. They were valued at $15,000.

Police Chief Terry Eilers said the department suspected the man and his associates early on.

"We've put him away for that (similar crimes) before," the chief said.

Police need to methodically assemble an airtight case against the suspect before turning the matter over for prosecution. They're in the process of doing that now.

Eilers said police are confident some of the evidence that wasn't torched will turn up eventually. Until then, they're continuing the investigation.

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