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Mike Nowatzki, Published January 01 2010

Police look into three Fargo muggings

Fargo police are looking into a possible link among three muggings reported in the same south Fargo area Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

No one was seriously injured in the incidents, which happened within several blocks of each other.

“Due to the geographical nature and the description of the suspects, we’re looking into the possibility that all three are related,” Sgt. Mark Lykken said.

Officers responded at 7:35 p.m. Wednesday to a report of a 20-year-old man mugged near the Kmart parking lot in the 1300 block of Oak Manor South.

The victim told police he was walking on the sidewalk when he was approached by a group of black males who engaged him in conversation. One asked him for a cigarette, and when he gave it to him, he was punched in the face and knocked down. The suspects stole his wallet and cell phone and fled on foot, Lykken said.

No weapons were used, and the man didn’t require medical attention.

About an hour later, police received a report that a 23-year-old man delivering Chinese food in the 2400 block of 17th Street South was met in an apartment building entryway by three black males and another man, possibly Hispanic or Native American, Lykken said. They punched the delivery man in the face, pushed him up against the wall and stole his food and money, which amounted to less than $100, he said.

Police are looking into whether the mugging may have been a setup, Lykken said. According to the dispatch log, the person reporting the incident said someone had called and asked that the delivery person have at least $100 in change when he arrived.

Wednesday’s muggings followed one Tuesday night in which a 21-year-old man told police four men in an SUV followed him from the Kmart store at 2301 S. University Drive to a parking lot at 18th Street and 25th Avenue South.

The victim told police that two men got out of the SUV and approached him with handguns and demanded money. The victim said he tried to get away by running, but the suspects caught him and stole his backpack, Lykken said.

The armed suspects were described as a black male about 25 years old with shoulder-length hair and a baseball cap, and a white male about 25 with shorter dark hair and a T-shirt.

Lykken said police advise delivery drivers to carry a minimal amount of change. Pedestrians who notice a group of people loitering in the area should walk in a different direction and, if they see people acting suspiciously, call 911, he said.

Police planned to have additional officers patrolling the Kmart area Thursday night, he said.

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