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TV Reporter Charged With Theft

May 17, 2000

ELK RIVER, Minn. (AP) _ A television reporter was charged with theft for taking a videotape from the car of a man suspected of staging pit bull fights, authorities said.

Tom Lyden acknowledged taking the tape, which showed dogs fighting, from Will Grigsby’s parked car. He has called it ``aggressive reporting.″

Authorities had searched the property of Grigsby’s girlfriend earlier and taken other tapes related to dog fighting, and 13 pit bulls were seized there last month. Grigsby, of St. Paul, is charged with staging dog fights.

Lyden, 34, was charged Tuesday with three misdemeanor counts, including theft and vehicle tampering. The charges each carry a maximum 90-day sentence.

``I think to say that it was obtained illegally is most definitely prejudging Mr. Lyden. I don’t know the answer to that, but that’s going to be for a judge and jury to decide,″ said station attorney Robert Weinstine.

KMSP-TV aired a copy of the videotape May 3 after turning the original over to authorities. However, Sherburne County Attorney Walter Kaminsky said prosecutors may not be able to use it as evidence against Grigsby if it was improperly obtained.

Lyden, who remains on the air, refused to comment on the charges.

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