EGF standoff ends without incidentAfter about three hours of waiting out a suspected burglar holed up in an East Grand Forks home Thursday afternoon, the area SWAT team swept through the split-level house, found an 18-year-old Arvilla, N.D., man hiding in the basement and arrested him without incident.
By: Archie Ingersoll, Grand Forks Herald
After about three hours of waiting out a suspected burglar holed up in an East Grand Forks home Thursday afternoon, the area SWAT team swept through the split-level house, found an 18-year-old Arvilla, N.D., man hiding in the basement and arrested him without incident.
“Things worked out perfectly: Nobody’s hurt, suspect in custody,” East Grand Forks Police Chief Mike Hedlund said.
About 2:30 p.m., a woman reported seeing two suspicious characters approach the front door of her neighbor’s house at 11 Garden Court N.W. She told police one of them went inside, while the other one headed east on Garden Court.
Officers responded, searched the main floor and found no one. But while in the basement, officers saw weapons lying around and heard what sounded like someone moving around, so they backed off, thinking that person might be armed, police said.
The owner of the house, Julie Gregerson, said she found two officers in her home when she showed up after school.
“I almost walked in, and I would have walked in with this person in my house,” she said.
By about 4:30 p.m., a fleet of squad cars was parked near Gregerson’s house. The 38-year-old mother stood on the edge of a perimeter set up by police, nervously waiting for the situation to be resolved.
“I don’t even smoke, but I went and bought a pack,” she said.
Adding to her anxiety was her husband’s collection of about 30 firearms that includes handguns, shotguns, rifles and ammunition. The weapons are usually locked up, Gregerson said, but because their basement flooded, they were out in the open as her husband — a hunter and competitive shooter — tried to dry them out.
Aside from a militia’s worth of guns accessible to the suspect, the other disconcerting issue was the day care next door. Day care workers were told to keep the kids in the basement until the standoff ended, though police allowed parents to pick up their children.
Travis Lindgren came to get his nearly-2-year-old son, Chase. The 28-year-old father said he felt safe going to get his boy, but when told about the cache of weapons, he recanted a bit.
“That’s a little scary,” he said.
In trying to make contact with the suspect, Hedlund said he yelled down the stairs leading to the basement. A negotiator from the Grand Forks Police Department tried the same but with no success.
Officers then deployed a flash-bang grenade. “That’s just one of the techniques that’s often used to try to make the person understand that this is a very serious situation,” Hedlund said. But the man didn’t get the hint.
A police K-9 was sent in to sniff out the suspect, but the dog could not find the man in the basement that had areas closed off, Hedlund said.
Having exhausted alternative tactics, the SWAT team was sent in. About 5:15 p.m., the suspect, flanked by officers, was brought out of the house with his hands cuffed behind his head and was taken away in a squad car.
Police weren’t able to locate the other man but have an idea who he might be.
“We have another person of interest that we will be pursuing,” Detective Rodney Hajicek said.
Authorities plan to release the arrested suspect’s named once charges are filed.
Randy Sondrol, an investigator with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, said authorities are looking into whether these two men are connected to other recent break-ins in the area.
Ingersoll reports on crime and courts. Reach him at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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