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Patterson officially charged with Gilby bank robbery

A 63-year-old man has been charged in federal court with robbing the Bremer Bank in Gilby, N.D., at gunpoint on May 26. Clifton Patterson made an initial court appearance Friday in Grand Forks. He's charged with bank robbery and using a firearm d...

A 63-year-old man has been charged in federal court with robbing the Bremer Bank in Gilby, N.D., at gunpoint on May 26.

Clifton Patterson made an initial court appearance Friday in Grand Forks.

He's charged with bank robbery and using a firearm during a violent crime. In each of those charges are allegations of aiding and abetting another party.

Authorities say bank surveillance video captured footage of Patterson and a second robber during the heist in which more than $50,000 was stolen.

In court, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal read the indictment charging Patterson. In reading it, she named a man authorities believe was the second robber. Attempts to confirm the spelling of the man's name and acquire more information about him were not successful Friday. The indictment was not available on the federal courts' public-document system.

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Special Agent Paul McCabe said Friday that the FBI is still looking for the second man who appeared in the surveillance video. After the hearing, McCabe did not return a message left at his office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Reisenauer, who is prosecuting the case, said Patterson is the only person who's been charged in the robbery. Reisenauer declined to comment on the second man named in the indictment.

Erratic behavior

Patterson, who had been living in Grand Forks, was arrested in Mississippi in June. He was charged in state District Court with the theft and unauthorized use of a sport-utility vehicle investigators believe was used in the robbery. But until now, he had not been charged with the robbery itself.

The state charges were dismissed this week, after federal authorities put a hold on Patterson.

During Friday's hearing, Patterson exhibited behavior similar to that shown at hearings on the state charges. Patterson mumbled as he was escorted into the courtroom, and he replied with non sequiturs to the judge's questions.

Asked if he understood his right to remain silent, he responded with his own inquiry, "Did you know the VA don't give you medication for AIDS no more?"

As he was being sworn in to answer more questions, Patterson asked, "Am I going to go over there and talk to that man on the television?" He was referring to Reisenauer who appeared in court via interactive television.

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Patterson did give logical responses to some questions. Asked how old he was, he said he was 63. Asked how much schooling he's received, he said he went to school through the 12th grade and spent 1½ years in college.

Asked if he had any health problems, he said he has diabetes. In responding to the same question, he told the judge that "the letter people, they put that cube in my head," and gestured to a spot behind his right ear.

Patterson also told the judge he was a superhero and asked if she wanted to see his superpowers.

Not long after the judge read the bank-robbery charge, Patterson said, "I own the bank. I own all the banks on the Northeast Coast."

Mental fitness

Public Defender Richard Henderson, who represented Patterson, made a motion for him to undergo a competency evaluation.

"I have no confidence at all that he understands the charges," Henderson said. "He was not able to give responsive answers to my questions."

The judge also said she was not satisfied that Patterson understood the charges and entered not guilty pleas on his behalf.

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Senechal said life in prison is the maximum penalty for using a firearm during a violent crime and 20 years is the maximum for bank robbery. The sentences would have to be served consecutively, she said.

A bail amount was not set, and Patterson was ordered to remain in custody.

At an earlier hearing in state District Court, Grand Forks County State's Attorney Peter Welte said it was the state's position that Patterson was acting the way he has, so he can receive a mental-health evaluation. Patterson has a prior record of armed robberies and other crimes, according to Welte.

Ingersoll reports on crime and courts. Reach him at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to aingersoll@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS COUNTY
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