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Authorities seek car used in Cenex robbery

The Park Rapids Cenex Convenience Store has tightened its procedures after being robbed at gunpoint Tuesday evening.

Two men driving a silver four-door sedan made off with more than $1,000 in cash and checks. They were last seen heading down Highway 71. The store is on North Main Avenue.

Park Rapids police chief Terry Eilers said the duo may have committed similar crimes in a neighboring county.

"We're working with another agency right now," Eilers said. "They've had some problems with some people driving a silver sedan."

Clerks at the store make regular drops of cash into the safe so the station doesn't have that kind of money in the till, said Cenex manager Lila Leritz.

"They normally don't" have $1,000 on hand, she said. "That was just a freak thing at that time."

She said the teenage clerk was about to make the cash drop when one of the robbers, believed to have been armed, walked into the store around 8:30 p.m., and demanded the cash. The young woman handed it over.

"She's fine," Leritz said of the clerk. "She was just shook up a little bit."

Leritz said the store security system is being updated. The security camera was not functioning properly during the robbery so surveillance video is not available.

However, the alleged robbers were spotted leaving the scene.

Leritz said other security precautions may be taken. "I have been concerned about safety since I started there," she said. She's managed the store, and the one in Menahga, for more than a year.

The clerk was working alone that night, Leritz said. She may begin scheduling two people on night shifts.

Meanwhile, Eilers said agencies are on the lookout for the silver car.

If anyone has any information about the car or the men, they are asked to call 237-2711.

"We need to find that car first and solve it or find it and rule those two guys out," Eliers said of the getaway vehicle. "I'm thinking we're going to find it and solve it."

Eliers said he doesn't think Park Rapids is seeing more crime, just streaks of events.

"We had several break-ins downtown and we solved those," he said. "We have some crime but so does every other town.

"With drug dealings, the high price of gas, they're looking for cash to keep their habits going whether they're shopping or smoking dope," Eilers said. "They have to keep the cash flow going."

Eilers and Leritz are both confident the men will be tracked down.

"It will take care of a lot of things in these counties," Eilers said.