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By Ryan Johnson, Forum Communications Co., Published December 24 2009

Arrest made in Grand Forks robberies

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A Grand Forks man named by authorities as a suspect in at least two recent armed robberies was arrested early Wednesday.

Kyle Steven Pederson, 23, was arrested shortly after midnight at Budget Inn Express, 3400 Gateway Drive, by Grand Forks police and agents of the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He was staying at the motel but listed an apartment at 208 N. 9th St. as his address when he was checked into the Grand Forks County Correctional Center.

Pederson was named the suspect in the Dec. 9 robbery of the Fairfield Inn in Grand Forks, the first robbery in a recent spree that crossed into Minnesota and possibly included a Monday robbery of painkillers and cash from Aasen Drug in Mayville.

Pederson made a televised district court appearance Wednesday afternoon on a Class B felony robbery charge for the Fairfield heist.

Besides the Class B felony charge for the Fairfield robbery, Pederson faces extradition to Polk County, Minn., at a Monday hearing for the Dec. 18 robbery of Orton’s Point Tesoro in East Grand Forks. He is being charged with first-degree aggravated robbery in that case, a felony.

All together, Pederson could receive a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and $45,000 in fines for the two robberies. During the court appearance, Judge Joel Medd said Pederson would face a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted in the Fairfield robbery because he used a handgun.

Pederson said his permanent address is 2101 7th Ave. N.W. in East Grand Forks, where he has lived since 1997. He said he was born and raised in the area, and his parents, three brothers and one sister all live in East Grand Forks.

A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 10 in the Fairfield case, said Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Peter Welte.

Welte said Pederson doesn’t have a prior criminal record in North Dakota, but asked the court to hold Pederson because he had made “admissions implicating himself in this case” and in “multiple other robberies.”

Based on the circumstances and the extradition hold from Polk County, Medd ordered Pederson held without bail.

When asked if Pederson would be charged with the other five Grand Forks robberies, Welte told the Grand Forks Herald that he could not comment on ongoing investigations. “It would be inappropriate, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the cases,” he said.

Pederson became a suspect “through cooperation with citizens of Grand Forks” who called in several tips that connected his name with the hotel robbery, Police Capt. Kerwin Kjelstrom said Wednesday.

The handgun and the money taken from the Fairfield robbery have not been recovered, Kjelstrom said.

The investigation is still ongoing, and authorities are asking anyone with information about the series of robberies to contact their local law enforcement agency.

Ryan Johnson is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.