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Thorne Bros Owner missing.

54 posts in this topic

With all the hype on this site for Thorne Bros. I can't believe noone mentioned this. Hope all turns out good and he returns!! Best wishes to his family.

Cut&Paste from pioneer press

North Metro / Tackle store owner missing

Wheelchair found at Mississippi landing

Four days of searching the Mississippi River have not turned up any clues in the disappearance of an owner of a well-known Fridley fishing tackle store.

But family and friends are holding out hope that Bill Fiebranz, 38, will soon return to his Blaine home, and to work at Thorne Bros. Custom Rod and Tackle.

"We miss him, and we just want him to come home," said Jenny Lewnau, who is Fiebranz's stepdaughter.

"We are asking people to keep his family in their prayers and hope for the best," said Josh Roundsley, co-owner of the shop with Fiebranz. "We're pretty close here. It's like another family."

Fiebranz's wife, Pamela Fiebranz, reported him missing at 3:40 p.m. Thursday, according to police in Blaine. He was last seen at 7 a.m. last Tuesday at the store, which is often cited by Field Stream magazine as one of the top 10 bait-and-tackle shops in the nation.

Pamela Fiebranz told police that calls to his cell phone had gone unanswered, authorities said. It was uncharacteristic of her husband to be gone without telling her because he is paraplegic, she told them.

The family first contacted police after about two days had passed because that's the customary time requirement before authorities will consider an adult to be missing, said Lewnau, who is Pamela Fiebranz's daughter.

Blaine police contacted the General Motors OnStar dispatch center requesting they search for Fiebranz's 2005 Silverado pickup truck using the vehicle's global positioning system.

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At 4:08 p.m. Thursday, Sherburne County sheriff's deputies found the empty truck on Minnesota 24 at Clearwater, Minn., near a boat landing on the Mississippi River. They found what they believe is his wheelchair partially submerged off the ramp.

Area rescue crews searched the Mississippi on Thursday and Friday by sonar and boat and with dive teams. On Monday, the Minnesota State Patrol used a helicopter to search a stretch of the river between Clearwater and Anoka.

It did not appear Fiebranz was fishing or testing equipment at the ramp, said Blaine Police Chief David Johnson, nor was there evidence pointing to suicide.

"Foul play is not suspected," he said. "But we don't know what the circumstances are. It's an open missing-person investigation looking at all aspects of what could have occurred."

He said he was unsure if boat or dive searches would resume because the Mississippi's waters are high and moving fast.

Roundsley said nothing appeared amiss when he last saw Fiebranz on Tuesday morning. It was a hectic week, Roundsley said, as the store prepares for a large fishing show. He and other staff thought Fiebranz had an appointment, he said.

Fiebranz and Josh Roundsley bought Thorne Bros. in 2004. Roundsley described Fiebranz, who had worked there for more than 15 years, as a fixture of the store.

"He is a great friend and business partner," Roundsley said. "He took his job very seriously and was very good at what he did."

Fiebranz was a rod maker and managed the rod shop before buying the store, when he assumed many of the company's financial operations, Roundsley said. He is also, of course, an avid fisherman.

"We all are here," Roundsley said. "You don't buy a tackle shop and not fish."

The store is cited often by fishing enthusiasts in magazines, Internet chat rooms and blogs as a must-visit site if you're in Minnesota. Many of Thorne Bros.' 15 employees are well-known in different areas of the fishing world for their mastery in making specialty jigs or rods, Roundsley said.

In recent days, the store's focus has turned to Fiebranz.

"With the hours we keep, we're very tight," Roundsley said.

Fiebranz is described as white, 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 185 pounds, with brown eyes. He is paraplegic and unable to walk, the result of injuries suffered in a snowmobile accident.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about Fiebranz's disappearance to contact the Blaine Police Department at 763-785-6168 or the Anoka County Sheriff's Office at 763-427-1212.

Dave Orrick contributed to this report.

Mary Bauer can be reached at mbauer@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5311.

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My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and I hope

that he will be found ok.

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How horrible, my thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Thorne Bros family.

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My goodness. I'm holding out hope here, and just wish him the best. Come home Bill....

Joel

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That is awful news. I hope his dissappearance and what the evidence points to at the river can be proved false and that he comes home fine. This is a man who has been through too much. Maybe we can get a happy ending like the young man from Nature Vision in Brainerd that was found up by Ely. God bless Bill and his family.

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My prayers go out and I hope Bill is found safe and sound.

Whenever I saw Bill at a show he always was full of great info.

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This is awful news! I am so sorry for the Thorne team and family members!

I hate to even ask but this appears to be from last week, anything new since then?

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Gods speed in this matter,Psalms 107 vs 21,for the family our prayers.

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My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of Bills. Very sad news.

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Bill is one heck of a guy. My prayers go out towards his safe return.

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How shocking and sad. Terrible news.

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i hope and pray they find him and he is ok! del

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Bill will be in my prayers.

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Man!! I hope this guy makes it! Finding the wheelchair in the river isn't very encouraging! I read the paper everyday and also watch the news and this is the first I've heard of this? frown.gif

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Thoughts and prayers for the family and friends of Bill. Hope that he is safe and returns soon. Take care././Jimbo

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I am greatly saddened by this news. I received a phone call informing me of this earlier and it has gained a hold of my throat for some time.

Many years ago when I was first getting into guiding full time most people would not give me the time of day nor be willing to help some little punk that wants to be a guide. Well Bill always treated me with respect, courtesy and gave me a good butt chewing if I had it coming. He was not only willing to teach me the ins and outs of a good musky rod he worked with me to develop the perfect grip and rod for my hands then went on to build rods for my guide boat, I always come back with busted tips, bent guides (not eyes as Bill says) I would get the normal scolding for tearing up the rods and Bill puts them in his lap spins his chair around and goes to work getting me back on the water. Bill has done so much for the fishing community; they do not make enough pages to write it all down. I owe Bill many big fish, tourney wins and clients that he has helped me gain through the years, He best be coming back soon, I have a debt to pay him.

I am not a religious man but Bill and his families both personal and professional will be in my prayers.

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Everyone at Thorne Bros appreciates your support and prayers. All we know at this time is what's stated above in the original post. Please don't read into it any further and please keep Bill and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

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sad news indeed my thoughts and prayers go out to bill and his family.

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Very, very sad news.

There are some things in life that no one can be prepared for, and this is one of them.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and the FM fishing community and staff that know Bill.

Fish On!!!

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Not really sure what to say other than Bill & the entire Thorne Bros family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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My prayers go out to Bill and the entire Thorne Bros family. This is truly disheartening news.

CA

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After reading this last night I looked at my rod I had built by Thorne Bros this winter in a totally different way. I'm an "Average Joe" but Bill took me thru the whole rod selection process and made SURE I was getting exactly what I wanted. Bill takes care and pride in how every person is handled.

He's a class act. Thoughts and prayers to the entire family and T Bros extended family.

Chris Haider

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Bill did me a great favor about a year ago. I wanded a live bait rig between a medium and a medium light. He said "no problem I have the rod for you". He cut down a 7'6" hot shot salmon rod to 7'. I asked him if it was possible to have it done by operner, he said he would try. Bill got the rod built in time for opener and its the best rod in my boat. My payers go out to Bill and his family.

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I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and wishes. It really does mean a lot. Keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best.

It really is a small world and is amazing how fast information travels these days. One thing I need to address is that our Custom Rod Shop is still firing on all cylinders. Bill's the contact person that just about everyone got to deal with when it came to having a custom rod built. Lonnie Murphy has been building our custom rods for 16 years (long before Bill started here) and will continue to do so. In addition to heading up the Rod Shop, he will now be the main contact person if you are looking to have a rod built. We're not going away, we're just going through a very difficult time.

Thanks again,

Brett Erickson

www.thornebros.com

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Thanks Brett, I'm sure things are very hard at Thornes now... but sometimes the best way to deal with things is to do your very best to go as they were....

We all hope that bill assumes his job again as soon as possible and that everything will be fine for him.

Its also good to know that Thornes is in good hands!

Great Staff, great company!

Bill our prayers are with you and your family!

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