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An armed robbery occurred at this convenience store early Thursday morning. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Gas station robbed at gunpoint

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By Sarah Smith

Hubbard County and Park Rapids authorities are searching for an armed robber that held up the Holiday Station Store in Park Rapids early Thursday.

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The robber brandished a pump-action sawed off shotgun at the clerk and demanded money about 4:45 a.m.

The suspect fled on foot wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with a Michael Jordan logo on it, dark gloves and white tennis shoes. It is believed the culprit headed north on County Road 1. He was carrying the black plastic cash register drawer the clerk handed over.

The man is believed to be five-feet tall, not four feet as the shaken clerk earlier described. Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers said it took officers awhile to calm the clerk down and get a better description, placing officers of varying heights in the position of the robber.

“You know when you have a shotgun pointed in your face…” the chief said. “He was pretty upset this morning.”

Thirty-one seconds of surveillance tape were taken to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Thursday afternoon for enhancement.

“That’s how long it took him,” Eilers said.

The public is asked not to approach the man, but to call 911 instead. The clerk was not injured in the holdup.

The clerk, after he’d cooled off, said he’d like to kick the robber’s posterior.

“You did the right thing,” the chief told the clerk. “You turned over the money. It was 200 bucks. Don’t worry about it.”

“It was actually $201,” Eilers said. “Then he dropped some coins at the front door so he stopped and got the coins but when he got outside the wind blew some bills out of the cash thing so he left 10 or 20 bucks outside, so he was having a bad day in the wind.”

Eilers said the suspect came in and out the side door, which faces County Road 1.

“We found some money in the corner right over by Family Furniture so I don’t know if that’s where he jumped in a car or truck or had a ride or a bicycle or a scooter or what,” the chief said.

“We’re looking for one particular individual because a couple of local cronies said that’s what this guy wears, Michael Jordan” clothing.

Hubbard County’s K-9 officer Oakley and his handler Sgt. Dan Kruchowski, were on the scene trying to pick up a scent, but light rains hampered dog’s ability to pick up the scent.

The store manager, when viewing the video, told police the man, believed to be 20-30, may have been a regular morning customer who allegedly pilfered coins from a change jar. She is the one who described him as having an Asian accent.

A statewide bulletin was issued at 7 a.m.

By 7 a.m. the State Patrol had joined the search, along with other agencies.

The day got even crazier when a man escaped custody at the Department of Corrections and another manhunt took place in downtown Park Rapids around 1:30 p.m.

Then officers raced to Hugo’s to deal with a disgruntled former employee who was stalking the business. That was just before 2 p.m.

The man was found to have two firearms with him. He was given a verbal warning that he was not welcome on the property.

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Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
(218) 732-3364
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