BISMARCK — North Dakota is on high alert following several high profile thefts including the FFA Grand Champion Horticulture Plant from the North Dakota State Fair in Minot and the Statue of Liberty replica in Fargo.

The thefts of both items occurred within 24 hours prompting Governor Burgum to order the National Guard and Highway Patrol to guard “all items of cultural significance.”

Governor Burgum spoke to an audience from a secure location regarding the recent thefts of several high profile items in North Dakota.

“At my order, I have mobilized both the National Guard and State Highway Patrol to guard and protect multiple landmarks, objects, cultural items, and works of art that are of significant cultural interest in North Dakota following the theft of two beloved items,” Governor Burgum said in a televised address to North Dakota. “Make no mistake, these acts were acts of terror. And tonight as you tuck your children into their beds, you may be struggling to reassure your family and yourselves about tomorrow. But know this, that the night is darkest before the dawn. While we are unsure of the identity of the cowards responsible for these recent thefts, know that we will find them and that justice shall prevail. These despicable acts, this crisis on the prairie, will only strengthen the bonds of our communities and people. We shall move forward together united in our grief as one people, one herd.”

Burgum and Sanford were rushed to a secure location deep within the State Capitol following the thefts North Dakota’s FFA Grand Champion Horticulture Plant Statue of Liberty replica.

Immediately following Burgum’s order, the North Dakota Highway Patrol moved Governor Burgum, Lt. Governor Brent Sanford and North Dakota House Speaker Lawrence Klemin to secure locations. It remains unclear how long the leaders will remain underground, however, several sources tell the Flickertail Times that emergency contingencies to ensure continuity of government are in place allowing officials to remain off the grid for up to three months. The Governor reportedly has a stockpile of Dot’s Pretzels in his bunker allowing him to work remotely for long periods of time.

Additional security was moved to guard the Governor’s residence and all government buildings were closed until further notice including the Heritage Center Museum in Bismarck.

North Dakota National Guard Security Forces were spotted guarding high value targets including Wally the Walleye in Garrison.

During the late hours of Friday night, security forces were spotted guarding multiple items including Wally the Walleye in Garrison, New Salem Sue, the world’s largest Sandhill Crane in Steele, the World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, “The Wahpper” catfish in Wahpeton, Tommy the Turtle in Bottineau, the Geographical Center of North America in Rugby, sculptures along the Enchanted Highway, as well as the Rough Rider Hall of Fame. It is also reported police are guarding the famed Wishek Sausage recipe in Wishek, North Dakota.

The Ward County Sheriff Department returned the FFA Grand Champion Horticulture Plant at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot. It is unknown if law enforcement was able to locate the suspects responsible. Credit: Ward County Sheriffs Department

Fair-goers at the North Dakota State Fair were subjected to enhanced searches due to the recent thefts. Additional security was spotted along the North Dakota/Canadian Border in the event additional terrorists attempted to infiltrate North Dakota. The TSA also announced mandatory strip searches of all travelers at all North Dakota airports. The TSA was quick to note however that the enhanced security was already in place at most North Dakota airports prior to the recent high profile thefts.

“We’re taking no chances,” said Burgum’s Director of Cultural Security Robert Lost. “Governor Burgum’s number one job is to protect the well-being of North Dakota and that’s exactly what he’s doing tonight. President Trump has already called in his support to the Governor and both the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force Bases have offered to lend us additional security forces including ground forces, UAV’s, and nuclear equipped B-52’s.”

A deputy with the Ward County Sheriffs Department says they do have reason to believe the culprits may be from North Dakota.

“Chances are the culprit may be of North Dakota origin given they managed to ‘sneak past’ everyone and make off with some of our most cherished monuments,” says Deputy Fife. “Nobody sneaks better than a North Dakotan.”

Law enforcement released a still image from security footage of several people of interest in the FFA Grand Champion Horticulture Plant theft. Credit: Ward County Sheriffs Department.

Churches across North Dakota in wake of the crisis on the prairie have opened their doors to host prayer vigils and potlucks to comfort those dealing with the sudden shock of the high profile thefts.

“They can to steal our happiness, but they’ll never steal our culture. And as long as the culprits remain at large, we’ll be cooking up tater-tot hotdish to comfort our communities and first responders,” said a local pastor.

The public is urged to contact local law enforcement immediately if they notice anything suspicious or if they have any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the theft of the FFA Grand Champion Horticulture Plant or Fargo Statue of Liberty.

“Do not approach anyone who may be responsible for the thefts of the Grand Champion Plant or Fargo Statue of Liberty,” says Deputy Fife. “They could be dangerous, or worse, complete and total idiots.”

More on this breaking news as it develops.

The Flickertail Times is a satirical humor blog featuring all things North Dakota. Feedback? We’d love to hear it. Send it all to: