JULY 6, 2022:

A Canby, Minnesota man who attempted to kidnap a young girl from a Watertown store more than four years ago was sentenced today (July 6, 2022).

Thirty nine year-old Peter Groenhoff was convicted by a jury of Second Degree Kidnapping in January.

He was arrested on May 27, 2018. He was working at Menard’s at the time. That day, while working, he picked up a young girl in the store without her parent’s permission, and began quickly walking away from the girl’s family. The father of the child pursued Groehnoff, asking him to stop, but Groenhoff continued on, and was chased into the Menard’s employee break area where he was held until police arrived.

Defense attorney Tim Cummings requested a sentence he hoped would address Groehnoff’s, “mental health needs.” Cummings said his client’s criminal history consisted of one speeding ticket, and that Groehoff has always had a job and been a productive citizen.

But the state argued Groenhoff presents a “significant public safety risk,” that he, “lacks insight into the thoughtfulness of his actions,” and that the incident was, “extremely traumatic for the girl and her family.”

Judge Carmen Means said around the time of the attempted kidnapping, Groehoff seemed to, “have a fixation on young girls.” She rejected a request for a suspended imposition of sentence, saying her concern has to be that of, “protection of the public.” She sentenced Groehoff to 15 years in the South Dakota Penitentiary with three years suspended, and gave Groenhoff credit for the 1,502 days spent in jail. He was also ordered to repay Codington County $1,800 for the cost of his psycho-sexual evaluation.

(Story courtesy of news partner KWAT radio.)

Courtesy photo.


A Canby, Minnesota, man who has spent more than 1,300 days in the Codington County Detention Center was convicted of Second Degree Kidnapping yesterday (Jan. 6, 2022).

39 year old Peter Groenhoff testified in his own defense, but a 12-member jury needed less than 90 minutes of deliberations before finding him guilty.

Groenhoff was arrested on May 27, 2018, for the kidnapping of a four year-old child at the Watertown Menard’s store where he worked at the time. Groenhoff picked up the child without a parent’s permission and began quickly walking away from the child’s family. The father of the child pursued Groenhoff and told him to stop, but Groenhoff continued on, and was chased into the Menard’s employee break area where he was held until Watertown police arrived.

Deputy State’s Attorney Alison Bakken, who prosecuted the case, said, “we are happy that we can finally give the victim and the family a sense of closure after all this time.”

Judge Carmen Means ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Second Degree Kidnapping is a Class Three felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of $30,000, or both. Groenhoff will remain in custody until his sentencing date, which has not yet been set.

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