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25-year-old, 84-year-old linked to F-M convenience store thefts identified

MOORHEAD - Police have identified two men arrested in connection with a string of convenience store thefts Tuesday afternoon in Fargo and Moorhead.

Abdi Abdullahi, 25, of Minneapolis, allegedly entered the businesses and stole money from the cash registers once they were opened by the clerks, Lt. Tory Jacobson said.

Four misdemeanor theft charges and a misdemeanor charge of having an open alcohol container in a vehicle are pending against Abdullahi in Clay County. He's being held in the Clay County Jail pending extradition to Cass County for felony theft charges.

The alleged driver of the vehicle, Einar Melford Swanson, 84, of Fargo, was interviewed by investigators and released from custody pending review from the County Attorney's Office for consideration of charges, Jacobson said.

Both men were taken into custody without incident after a vehicle with two occupants matching the descriptions provided by victims of Tuesday afternoon's crime spree was located at about 5 p.m., which was about 15 minutes after the last reported theft, he said.

No weapons were reportedly used during the crimes.

The investigation is ongoing, Jacobson said.

Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said the first theft report came in at about 3:30 p.m. from the M&H convenience store on Main Avenue and 16th Street.

The theft, police said, followed a pattern that would be repeated through the next hour or so: A black male would walk into the store, find a small item to purchase - in this case, a soda - and approach the clerk. The man reached for small bills to pay for his purchase, and when the clerk opened the till, he would reach over, grab the money, and run out.

Vettel said the clerk at the M&H tried to hit the man with a pencil as he fled out to a waiting getaway car driven by another man.

Jacobson said his department was notified by Fargo police about the M&H theft just before a call came in that the Stop-N-Go at 1702 30th Ave. S. in Moorhead had been robbed.

Minutes later, an alarm was reported at Orton's convenience store 10 blocks west of the Stop-NGo, Jacobson said in a news release. A few minutes after that, the Casey's General Store seven blocks from Orton's reported a robbery.

Then, 15 minutes later, the Holiday at 3475 28th Ave. S. was also robbed.

Jacobson said law enforcement including Dilworth police, Clay County Sheriff 's deputies and troopers from Minnesota and North Dakota helped track the suspects to a location in the 900 block of 18th Avenue South.

Jacobson said police found cash there in a vehicle they believe is related to the thefts.