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Published August 22 2012

17-year-old accused in Mapleton robbery also one of 3 teens accused in Fargo Giant Panda stickup

FARGO – A 17-year-old Fargo boy arrested after an armed robbery at Gordy’s Travel Plaza in Mapleton on Monday evening also is one of three teenagers suspected in a stickup Friday at a Chinese restaurant in Fargo, police said.

Lt. Joel Vettel said the investigation into Friday’s armed robbery at the Giant Panda was already pointing to at least one of the other suspects when the 17-year-old boy was arrested about a half-hour after the Gordy’s robbery.

“At the end of the day, it did probably quicken our ability to arrest the other two,” he said, referring to the 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl also now in custody.

All three teens are being held in the Cass County Juvenile Detention Center.

State’s Attorney Birch Burdick said he was still receiving and reviewing police reports and expects to make charging decisions by the end of the week. He may try to get the charges transferred to adult court.

In the Giant Panda robbery, police said two suspects entered the restaurant at 1331 Gateway Drive at about 9:30 p.m. One suspect pointed a shotgun at an employee, and the other went behind the counter and stole an undisclosed amount of money.

Both suspects fled the restaurant and got into a waiting vehicle outside.

Vettel said that while it was unfortunate that the 17-year-old boy allegedly committed another robbery as police were still investigating the first one, “Ultimately it resulted in at least a quicker arrest of all three individuals based on what happened.”

Armed robbery is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528