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Forum Communications Co. report, Published January 15 2010

Robbery suspect appears in court

A Grand Forks man accused in a series of area holdups appeared in a Traill County (N.D.) courtroom Wednesday on a charge of robbing a drugstore of cash and painkillers.

Kyle Pederson, 23, is charged with sticking up pharmacists at Aasen Drug in Mayville, N.D., along with six Grand Forks businesses and one in East Grand Forks, Minn.

The string of robberies took place from Dec. 9 to Dec. 21. Roughly $4,000 and more than 200 pain pills – with an estimated street value in excess of $6,000 – were taken during the holdups. Officers arrested Pederson on Dec. 22 at the Budget Inn Express in Grand Forks. Authorities said he admitted to the robberies.

In North Dakota, the seven robbery charges are Class B felonies with mandatory minimum sentences of four years in prison because a BB handgun was used. The maximum penalty on each count is 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In Grand Forks County, he’s also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and painkillers without a prescription.

In Minnesota, he faces a felony charge of first-degree aggravated robbery, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.

Blake Hankey, a Grand Forks attorney, has been appointed to represent Pederson in Traill County, and Daniel Borgen, a public defender, is his lawyer on the Grand Forks County charges.

Borgen and Hankey did not return messages left at their offices Wednesday.

The Grand Forks Herald is owned by Forum Communications Co.