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Stephen J. Lee, Published July 10 2009

Suspect in Gilby, N.D., bank robbery back in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Clifton Patterson, fingered by the FBI as one of two men who robbed the Bremer Bank on May 25 in Gilby, N.D., has arrived in North Dakota from Mississippi and was booked into the Grand Forks County jail about 2 p.m. Thursday, a jail spokesman said.

Patterson, 63, had been living in an apartment building on 13th Avenue South in Grand Forks until the robbery. He was arrested days later on unrelated charges in Mississippi and has been in jail there while Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Peter Welte worked to extradite him on car theft charges.

The FBI said in a court affidavit that Patterson can be seen holding a handgun in security video of the bank robbery, in which two men got away with more than $50,000.

The FBI has said recently it has not arrested any suspect as the second bank robber and has not released any information about whether they have targeted anyone as a suspect.

A tip from an Argyle, Minn., man who recognized the bank video images of Patterson as resembling a man he saw near Hugo’s grocery and liquor stores the day before the robbery led the FBI to focus on Patterson.

Images of him shopping at the stores in the two days before the robbery led the FBI to identify him through a food stamps card he used to purchase food.

The second man was seen pointing a shotgun at the lone employee in the bank. The “handgun” Patterson used, the FBI alleges, turned out to be a BB gun left behind by the robbers.

Patterson is scheduled to appear in Grand Forks state district court at 3 p.m. today via interactive television from the jail to face, not federal bank robbery charges, but a car theft charge.

The vehicle used in the robbery, seen by the bank employee, was found near Gilby and had been stolen from a Fargo dealership, Welte said. It’s that charge that was the basis of his extradition back to North Dakota.

Any federal bank robbery charges, as indicated by the FBI’s affidavit, have not been filed.

The Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.