Wadena inmate suspected in Moorhead heist
Moorhead police say a 21-year-old Fargo man has been linked to a robbery at a Stop-N-Go on Feb. 10, one of three recent robberies at different metro locations of the convenience store.
But police aren't saying if they believe the suspect was involved in any of the other robberies, or if they have leads on anyone else.
Clay County prosecutors on Tuesday filed charges of armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a gun against James Clint Lafayette Taylor.
Taylor is being held in the county jail in Wadena, where he had been wanted for an alleged probation violation on a 2009 burglary conviction.
In a Clay County District Court complaint, police say they found jeans and shoes allegedly worn at the time of the robbery in a search warrant of Taylor's home in Fargo on Feb. 13 - which was his 21st birthday.
According to the complaint, three black men with their faces covered entered the Stop-N-Go at 1702 30th Ave. S. in Moorhead shortly after 10 p.m. on Feb. 10 demanding cash, one of the men pointing a handgun at the clerk.
The three men ended up stealing $4,025.78 from the store, court records state.
Reviewing earlier security footage from the store, police say in the complaint the clerk who was working on the night of the robbery identified a man he knew as "J," seen in a video from Feb. 4, as the man who pointed a gun at him during the robbery.
Police allege that "J" was later identified as Taylor, and the clerk said he was "80 percent sure" he was one of the three robbers.
In the complaint, police allege security video from the Vista Inn & Suites at University Drive South and Interstate 94 in Fargo shows Taylor and two other men arriving about 10 minutes after the stickup and paying for a room with cash.
At the hotel, Taylor was wearing shoes and jeans he was seen wearing in the store surveillance tape - which matched the shoes and jeans found in his home in the Feb. 13 search, according to the complaint.
The jeans were dark with stitching on the pockets, the shoes black with white soles, police claim.
Witnesses said all three of the recent Stop-N-Go stickups - including a Jan. 23 robbery in West Fargo and one Feb. 15 in Fargo -- were done by at least two people. In the Fargo and Moorhead robberies, clerks described the suspects as three black men -- in addition to a fourth man who was white or Hispanic in the Fargo holdup.
Fargo police Sgt. Mark Lykken said he couldn't comment on whether Fargo police believe Taylor is connected to the Feb. 15 robbery at 1462 Broadway.
Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson said he couldn't comment on whether police think Taylor is linked to either of the other two robberies or if additional suspects have been identified in the Feb. 10 robbery.
Jacobson did say the investigation is ongoing and police in the area are cooperating on the cases.
In the complaint, police allege Taylor admitted to one of the deputy's stepsons that he stole a handgun from a Cass County sheriff's deputy not named in court records.
One of Taylor's acquaintances -- who told police Taylor asked him to buy him an M-16 on Feb. 11 -- said he believes Taylor had sold the revolver he allegedly stole from a deputy.
Chief Assistant Clay County Attorney Heidi Davies wouldn't comment on whether investigators think the revolver was used in the Feb. 10 stickup.
Davies said the timing of Taylor's first appearance in Clay County court will depend on how the alleged probation violation in Wadena County is handled.