Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Criminal sexual conduct fugitive arrested in Delano
Dec. 6, 2010

Peter Dane fled Arizona in 2007

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

DELANO, MN – A man who fled Arizona in 2007 to avoid registering as a sex offender and serving probation was arrested by local authorities Nov. 28 in Delano.

Peter Franklin Dane, 54, was taken into custody outside of the Coborn’s in Delano and is also facing new charges for allegedly giving a false name and date of birth to authorities.

The United States Marshals Service had been looking for Dane because he had an extraditable felony warrant for a parole violation regarding criminal sexual conduct in Arizona, according to West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS). Dane was convicted of criminal sexual conduct against a juvenile, served his initial sentence, and then fled Arizona in March 2007.

The United States Marshals Service requested assistance in obtaining criminal charges against Dane in Minnesota for failure to register as a predatory offender in Minnesota, according to WHPS.

Staff at Coborn’s in Delano had received information authorities were seeking Dane and that Sidney M. Morris, 58, of Independence, who Dane claimed to be his wife, had been patronizing the store. Coborn’s obtained surveillance footage of Morris and Dane together in the store.

An employee noticed Dane in the store Nov. 28 with Morris and called 911, according to Store Manager Joe Tipka.

“I’m very proud of our employees for recognizing him and immediately contacting authorities,” Tipka said. “We had been working with the US Marshals Service and knew she frequented our store. We feel fortunate we could help in apprehending this person and taking him out of our community.”

Wright County deputies made contact with Dane outside the store. Dane claimed he was Thomas Orrin Morris, according to WHPS.

He then admitted to deputies his true identity, and the felony warrant from Arizona was discovered. Dane stated he was living with Morris, who he claimed was his wife.

While at the scene of the arrest, Sidney Morris lied to Wright County deputies and told them Dane’s name was “Thomas Morgan,” according to WHPS. Dane was taken into custody, but Morris was not.

Dane confessed to authorities he fled Arizona in 2007 because he did not want to be on parole or register as a convicted sex offender, according to WHPS.

He admitted living in Independence for at least the last six months, and he has been in Minnesota for at least two years. Before living in Minnesota, Dane was living in Missouri.

WHPS detectives, along with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Marshals Service, located Morris at a residence in St. Louis Park. She confessed to WHPS that she had been aiding Dane to escape capture and detection by law enforcement.

“Morris knew Dane was a wanted fugitive and lied to law enforcement in an attempt to keep him from being arrested,” according to WHPS.

WHPS later executed a search warrant at the couple’s residence in the 3700 block of Lake Haughey Road. Officers recovered a number of documents indicating Dane had been living there with Morris under the assumed name of Thomas Orrin Morris.

Officers recovered identification and paperwork showing Dane had been using the identity of Thomas Orrin Morris for the past three years.

This identity was mailed in 2007 to Dane in Missouri by Morris, who was in Minnesota, according to WHPS. The identity of Thomas Morris has been determined to be the identity of Sidney Morris’ deceased husband.

Both Dane and Morris have criminal history records in Arizona, including the sexual misconduct charges and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, according to Arizona court records.

They were co-defendants in the Arizona criminal sexual conduct case, and Morris is related to the juvenile victim.

After Wright County had taken Dane to jail and discovered his true identity, the Yavapi County Attorney’s Office in Arizona changed its mind and decided it would not extradite Dane to Arizona. Local officials indicated they were not sure why this happened.

“This is a great example of federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies working together,” commented WHPS Director Ray McCoy at a press conference Wednesday.

McCoy said there is no doubt the streets are safer with Dane in custody, and said there was a high level of concern with someone “who will go to these lengths to avoid registering as a sex offender and probation.”

“Anytime you take a sex offender who is trying to cover up his identity off the streets, to me that is a dangerous person, and our community is safer,” McCoy said.

Dane has been charged in Hennepin County with felony failure to register as a predatory offender and is facing charges in Wright County of giving false information to a police officer.

Morris has been charged in Hennepin County with felony aiding an offender.

Dane has been held on $25,000 bail and Morris has been held on $20,000 bail. Both remained in custody as of late last week.

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