Caribou Grill owner charged with arson, insurance fraud

A Kennedy woman is in custody and charged with two felony offenses after allegedly setting fire to her business in Hallock.

Tamara DeVore, 50, was formally charged in court Monday morning at the Kittson County Courthouse with first-degree arson and insurance fraud. She owns the Caribou Grill, a popular restaurant in Hallock.

Tamara DeVore, 50, of Kennedy Owner of Caribou Grill, Hallock

The arson charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $35,000 fine or both. The insurance fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.

A complaint filed Monday states probable cause exists that DeVore intentionally set a fire in the storage room of the Caribou Grill on Thursday, Feb. 21, “with the intent to defraud” her insurance company.

The complaint filed also states that surveillance footage shows DeVore entering and exiting the storage room several times with nothing in her hands. It also shows she was the last person to leave the storage room at 10:21 p.m., and two minutes later at 10:23 p.m. “heavy smoke obscured the camera.” Customers still in the bar area then called 911 at 10:24 p.m.

“No one else was in the vicinity of that room for over 30 minutes prior to the fire, other than the Defendant,” the complaint states.

DeVore was being held at the Kittson County Jail but bonded out Monday morning, said Sheriff Mark Wilwant.

Look for a full story in this week’s Enterprise.

7 Comments

  1. Jim Tureson on February 25, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    That is so sad. If it’s not working out, put it up for sale, you have disrupted the lives of so many good people who worked for, or supported the Grill! Plus, so many people who came to Hallock and supported your business by eating and drinking there. It’s tough running a good business. If run properly, it could be a gold mine, with meetings there, aka, KMHC as I remember we had many meetings there and also ordered food! Plus the business of serving breakfast to so many people who stopped in every day…!!!!!! This is such a terrible blow to my wonderful hometown of Hallock.

  2. Ben Urie on February 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

    I would like to offer the perspective of a current member of the community and someone who actually supports the local businesses. First of all, the Caribou has been listed for sale for some time, and has changed hands multiple times. If it was such a “goldmine” as you call it, somebody would have already bought it, or it would still be in the hands of the original owners. There is no such thing as a “goldmine” in a small town. It takes many years to break even, and only if you get lucky. And that’s after many long hours and unimaginable stress. Secondly, the “surveillance” camera claimed to catch her in the act was the camera she installed herself to catch people stealing beer. Do you really think a person would imcriminate themselves that easily???
    Third, the Caribou was hosting pool league that night with 2 local firefighters present. Would you try to burn a building for insurance with 2 firefighters inside???
    Fourth, the second thing you do in any auto, home, or business accident is to notify your insurance company. In fact, most companies require it. It’s very hard to assume insurance fraud based on that action alone.
    Finally, the ATF hasn’t even arrived yet to do their investigation, which is customary in cases of business fires. Just because one or two local officials rush to judgment doesn’t mean we all have to follow them off the cliff like a bunch of lemmings. We don’t even know if it is arson yet. Let the pros do their jobs.

    • Dawn Lindegard on February 27, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      Well said Ben👍

    • Vanessa S on March 5, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Agreed, Ben.

    • lil john kessler on March 7, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      That was well said Ben let the pros do their job

  3. JOHN MATTSON on February 26, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Hope someone can fix it up and reopen it as soon as possible.

  4. Ron Saje on March 7, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    As a senior from from across the border I came to hallock to enjoy a great lunch at the caribou grill and today was the day and was shocked to hear what transpired at the grill, IAM hopeful that things will work out for the wonderful owner , agree with Ben and his comments.

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