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Mike Nowatzki, Published December 11 2009

Two arrested, third sought in VFW burglary

Police arrested two people – one of whom tried to elude officers by hiding in a trash bin – and were seeking a third suspect in connection with a burglary at the Dilworth VFW club early Thursday.

VFW Commander Jason Hicks, a detective with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, said the burglars smashed a patio-style glass door to get into the club and broke open the ATM machine, stealing the cash box containing an undisclosed amount of money.

Police didn’t release a description of the suspect at large, but they do have leads on him, thanks to witnesses, Hicks said.

“We will get him identified and arrested,” he said.

Dilworth, Moorhead and Clay County authorities responded to a security alarm at 1:07 a.m. at the club at 1505 Center Ave. W.

A Dilworth police officer arrived first and was walking around the building when he got to the south side where the door was smashed and saw two people walking across the parking lot, Dilworth Police Chief Dave Miller said.

A Clay County sheriff’s deputy coming from the other direction cut off the suspects, who split up and fled on foot, Miller said.

One suspect jumped into a car that had pulled into the parking lot, he said.

The officer and deputy pursued the other suspect on foot, eventually finding him covered in garbage in a trash bin behind Slumberland, Miller said.

Police arrested the man, who gave officers a false name, Miller said. His identity hadn’t been confirmed as of Thursday afternoon.

Moorhead police pursued the getaway car, a four-door 2005 Pontiac, into north Moorhead and across the Red River into Fargo.

The car stopped in the MeritCare North Fargo parking lot at 2601 Broadway. Residents of New Horizons Manor just to the south saw the suspects flee the car into a park behind the high rise, Fargo police Sgt. Mark Lykken said.

The car’s alleged driver, 42-year-old Jogenia Franklin of Dilworth, was arrested by Moorhead police and booked into the Cass County Jail as a fugitive from justice.

Police K-9 units tracked the other suspect but didn’t find him, Lykken said.

Hicks said the VFW was opening for business Thursday with a new ATM. Some of the stolen money was recovered from the arrested suspect, but some was still missing, he said.

The VFW moved into the building about a year ago. It formerly housed the Speedway and Miguelito’s restaurants.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528