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Published November 21, 2013, 09:58 AM

Minnesota jury convicts man of terrorizing neighbors

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A northwestern Minnesota man faces prison time after he was convicted for terrorizing and attempting to coerce $500,000 from his neighbors in the Thief River Falls area.

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A northwestern Minnesota man faces prison time after he was convicted for terrorizing and attempting to coerce $500,000 from his neighbors in the Thief River Falls area.

A Pennington County jury found Gerald Sunsdahl guilty of two charges of making terroristic threats and one for attempted coercion on Wednesday, The Forum of Fargo reported. Sunsdahl faces up to five years in prison per felony count when sentenced Dec. 16.

The 52-year-old was charged with pressuring brothers Dean and Dale Hanson to pay him money. A handwritten letter Sunsdahl left in their mailbox in June threatened to kill their family if they didn't deliver the cash in three roadside installments. He followed the threat-filled letter with a phone call in which he disguised his voice.

Sunsdahl was arrested that day in a sting operation.

The county prosecutor has said authorities believed Sunsdahl was attempting to replenish his parents' accounts, which he had drained as their power of attorney.

Sunsdahl's attorney, Scott Collins, asked Judge Jeffrey Remick for his client to be released from custody pending sentencing, saying the 169 days he's served since being arrested June 5 might suffice. But Remick denied the request, although Sunsdahl can continue on work release.

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