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Chris Olson, Forum News Service, Published October 25 2013

Authorities see no link between bank robberies in Carrington, Medina

In less than 24 hours, banks in Carrington and Medina, N.D., were robbed in broad daylight, although authorities don’t believe the two incidents are connected.

Greg Boosalis, division counsel for the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, said as of Friday evening there was no known link between the two robberies. The amount of money taken in each robbery is unknown.

Having one bank robbery in a small town in North Dakota is uncommon, Boosalis said.

“Having two happen within 24 hours of each other, that is very rare,” he said.

Suspects in the robbery of the Northland Financial Bank in Medina were still being sought as of Friday evening, Boosalis said.

Around 10:30 a.m. Friday, two men approached the bank counter and demanded money, Boosalis said.

One of the robbers brandished a handgun and both wore dark, bulky clothing and colored masks. They left the bank and were believed to have fled in a blue Chevy Trailblazer, which was found abandoned south of Medina on N.D. Highway 30.

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said it is believed the suspects may have gotten into another vehicle, a light-colored Lincoln SUV that a witness saw parked along N.D. 30 in that same area, as he went into Medina on Friday morning.

“When he (the witness) came back, he saw the Chevy Trailblazer sitting in about the same spot on the side of the road,” Kaiser said.

The suspects are described as two men in their late teens or early 20s, about 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall. One suspect is thought to be African-American.

Paul Bakkum, president and CEO of Northland Financial Bank, said Friday that he thought the staff at the Medina branch did exactly what they were supposed do in a robbery.

“Our staff did a fantastic job following protocol, and they were able to provide a great amount of information to the law enforcement officers investigating the incident,” he said.

The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the robbery, with assistance from the Jamestown Police Department, the FBI and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Carrington robbery

The Carrington robbery happened at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Gate City Bank. A suspect is in custody, Boosalis said.

A vehicle fitting the description of a white Ford Crown Victoria that was seen leaving Carrington at a high rate of speed on U.S. Highway 52 shortly after the robbery Thursday was pulled over by state and local law enforcement southeast of Martin, N.D., early that evening. The driver fit the description of the suspect leaving the bank, Boosalis said. The suspect was wanted on an outstanding state warrant and was arrested.

Boosalis said the man arrested is the lead suspect in the Carrington robbery. He did not identify the suspect.

According to the FBI, the robber approached the bank counter and provided a bank teller with a note demanding money. After obtaining an unspecified amount of money, the robber fled.

Scott Hare, manager of the Carrington and Jamestown Gate City Bank branches, referred any questions to law enforcement officials.

The Carrington Police Department, along with the FBI, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and McHenry Sheriff’s Office, continue to investigate the case.

Boosalis said anyone with information on either bank robbery should contact the FBI Fargo Resident Agency at (701) 232-7241. Anyone with information on the Medina robbery is asked to call the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office at (701) 252-9000.