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By Stephen J. Lee, Published June 18 2009

Extradition begins for Gilby bank suspect

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Peter Welte signed a governor’s warrant this week and sent it to Mississippi, seeking the extradition of Clifton Patterson to face a charge of stealing the vehicle used in the Gilby, N.D., bank robbery.

Welte said Wednesday he expects Grand Forks County Sheriff’s deputies will travel to Mississippi within about a week to pick up Patterson.

Patterson, 63, remains a “person of interest’ in the May 26 robbery of the Bremer Bank in Gilby, according to FBI spokesman E. K. Wilson.

In an affidavit filed earlier this month in federal court seeking a search warrant of Patterson’s Grand Forks apartment, FBI agents said they think he’s one of the two men seen pointing guns during the bank robbery that netted them more than $50,000.

The second man has not been identified by the FBI and no one else has been apprehended in the bank robbery case, Wilson said.

Welte said the Jeep Compass SUV believed to be used by the two bank robbers, found later in nearby Honeyford, N.D., was stolen from Corwin Chrysler in Fargo and will remain impounded until the theft case is disposed of.

June 5, Welte filed two felony charges, theft of property and unauthorized use of a vehicle, against Patterson in connection with the Jeep. Patterson had been living in Grand Forks but left town after the bank robbery.

Wilson said that until more “components” of the investigation get nailed down, any federal bank robbery charges against Patterson won’t happen. But he said the FBI is coordinating with Welte on the extradition of Patterson back to Grand Forks.

It’s doubtful that a local court would bother with the cost and time to extradite a suspect in a Class C felony car theft case from a state 1,000 miles away unless larger issues were involved.

Last fall, Patterson was jailed in Grand Forks on a grand larceny warrant from Mississippi, but law enforcement officials there declined to extradite him back to face the charge and he was released.

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