Man in red ski mask robs GF storeFor the second time this week, a slim man standing about 6 feet tall and wearing a red ski mask has displayed a handgun inside a Grand Forks business, made off with cash and eluded arrest. Discontent — a skateboard, clothing and music shop — reported a robbery just before 1:30 p.m. Friday, and on Wednesday evening, the front desk of the Fairfield Inn was robbed.
By: Archie Ingersoll, Grand Forks Herald
For the second time this week, a slim man standing about 6 feet tall and wearing a red ski mask has displayed a handgun inside a Grand Forks business, made off with cash and eluded arrest.
Discontent — a skateboard, clothing and music shop — reported a robbery just before 1:30 p.m. Friday, and on Wednesday evening, the front desk of the Fairfield Inn was robbed. Police are fairly certain one man held up both places.
“I would think chances are pretty good, but it’s too early to say for sure,” Sgt. B.A. Johnson said.
At Discontent, 1429 S. Washington St., the suspect entered the front door and immediately ordered the clerk, the only person in the store, to give him the cash from the register, Johnson said.
“The guy complies, gives him the money and out he goes,” Johnson said. “Once he left, the guy didn’t see which direction he went.”
Johnson said the clerk was not injured and that the suspect took an undetermined amount of money.
Police released an image from the store’s video surveillance system that shows the robber standing in front of a door holding a handgun in his right hand and a stack of bills in his left. Johnson said the handgun appears to be a semiautomatic and that the robber looks like he’s wearing gloves. Because of that, he said, detectives did not search the store for fingerprints.
In the parking lot and alley behind the store, investigators scoured the snowy and icy ground for evidence, using yellow markers to designate points of interest, namely footprints.
“They found some. We can’t say they’re 100 percent related to it,” Johnson said.
Lewis and Clark Elementary, which sits a couple blocks from Discontent, was locked down from about 2 until 3 p.m. as lawmen canvassed the neighborhood, Principal Scott Johnson said.
At Gramma Butterwick’s, next to Discontent, customers and workers who were in the diner with large windows that look on to Washington Street and its frontage road said they didn’t spot the robber or anything else suspicious.
“I didn’t see a thing,” waitress Renae Ness said. “We have a really good view.”
On the other side of Discontent, workers at the Firestone garage didn’t see anything unusual either, salesman Scott Corzine said. Police also visited neighboring businesses but found no witnesses, Johnson said.
Police describe the robber who struck Discontent as a white man wearing blue and white plaid pajama pants and a black hooded sweatshirt with a large graphic on the front.
“That sweatshirt is pretty unique. I’m hoping somebody would recognize that sweatshirt,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the robber’s red mask with white around the eyeholes has the appearance of a Spiderman mask.
At the Fairfield Inn, 3051 S. 34th St., the suspect was described as a tan white man, possibly Hispanic or American Indian. His height was estimated at 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 1 inch. He was wearing a black, hooded, zip-up sweatshirt with a realistic human skull taking up the front and possibly dark brown cargo pants.
The Grand Forks Police Department asks that anyone with information about the robberies call (701) 787-8000.
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.