Man charged in 8 Grand Forks area holdups, drug crimes
Authorities had strongly suggested they believed Kyle Pederson was responsible for a string of December robberies that prompted an intense investigation, but not until Wednesday did prosecutors formally charge him with all eight stickups in the Grand Forks area, as well as drug crimes.
Included with the charges are documents that offer a clearer picture of how the robberies were executed and how investigators followed a trail to 23-year-old Pederson.
Search warrant affidavits say an anonymous source told Grand Forks detectives to speak with a man who knew Pederson. That man told detectives he went to Pederson's apartment where Pederson told him, "I did it," according to the affidavits.
The affidavits state Pederson told the man he was nervous when he tried to rob a Taco Bell in Grand Forks on Dec. 20 because of all the vehicles and people around. Pederson showed him $1,500 to $3,000 and lots of tablets of Oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, the affidavits say.
The affidavits describe how detectives obtained a recorded phone conversation between another man, an inmate at the Walsh County (N.D.) jail, and his sister Dec. 21. The inmate told his sister that he and Pederson were planning a robbery in Mayville, N.D., and that the blue-and-white, checkered pajama pants Pederson wore during a Dec. 11 robbery at Discontent in Grand Forks were his, the affidavits state.
With this information, officers arrested Pederson on Dec. 22 at the Budget Inn Express in Grand Forks. In Pederson's jacket, they found a vial containing prescription painkillers, according to an officer's report.
The affidavits say Pederson told officers he committed the eight robberies and that a gun in his car -- a BB handgun -- was used in the stickups. He told them they'd also find in his car the dark hooded sweatshirt, neck gator and Harley Davidson boots he wore during the Mayville robbery, the affidavits state.
On Dec. 23, they searched Pederson's blue 1991 Cadillac El Dorado and found, among other items: a hooded sweatshirt, a neck gator, boots, a silver and black BB handgun, patient discharge instructions for mid-back pain and pay stubs from the Toasted Frog restaurant in Grand Forks and Tharaldson Employee Management of Fargo, according to an evidence inventory.
The same day, investigators searched Pederson's apartment on the 200 block of North Ninth Street in Grand Forks and found used syringes, marijuana pipes and a water bong, an officer's report says.
More than $3,900 and more than 200 pain pills -- with an estimated street value in excess of $6,000 -- were taken during the robberies. Below are investigators' synopses of the holdups.
- 5:05 p.m. Dec. 9: Fairfield Inn, 3051 S. 34th St.
An officer's report says Pederson entered the front door of the hotel, pulled a handgun from his waistband and showed it to the clerk. Pederson left with $465, the report states.
- 1:29 p.m. Dec. 11: Discontent, 1429 S. Washington St.
An officer's report says Pederson came in the front door and showed a black and silver handgun to the clerk, who handed over roughly $660. Pederson left through the back door toward a waiting car, the report states.
- 9:57 p.m. Dec. 12: Simonson Station Store, 310 Gateway Drive
An officer's report says Pederson entered through the rear door and demanded money; when the clerk hesitated, Pederson tapped a handgun on the counter and asked, "Do you think I'm kidding?" Pederson left out the same door with close to $2,100, according to the report.
- 5:51 p.m. Dec. 16: Big Cigs Valley Dairy, 1207 N. Fifth St.
An officer's report says Pederson told a clerk to "empty the drawer" and ordered another clerk to stay put. Pederson, who kept his handgun in his waistband throughout the holdup, fled with an estimated $182, the report states.
- 1:06 p.m. Dec. 18: Orton's Point Tesoro, 504 Rhinehart Drive, East Grand Forks
Affidavits say Pederson told the clerk to put the till on the counter and fled with cash. A witness reported seeing him get into a white car with a loud muffler parked a block away, the affidavits state.
- 2:07 p.m. Dec. 20: Taco Bell, 1301 S. Washington St.
Court documents say Pederson calmly stood at the counter until an employee showed up, and he ordered her to open the till. Pederson eventually left the restaurant without taking any cash, the documents state.
- 2:25 p.m. Dec. 20: Budget Music, 716 S. Washington St.
An officer's report says Pederson came through the front door of the store and told the clerk to give him money from the till. Pederson had the clerk walk with him to the back door before he left with $200 to $250, according to the report.
- 10:20 a.m. Dec. 21: Aasen Drug, 15 Main St. E., Mayville.
Affidavits say he placed a handgun on the counter and told the clerk to give him oxycodone pills. When the pharmacist brought one bottle, Pederson got angry and told her to bring more -- she did, and he emptied two cash registers and took more than 200 pills, the affidavits state.
A postal carrier reported seeing a dark blue car with Minnesota handicap plates parked near the drugstore and a person inside wearing a hooded sweatshirt, the affidavits say.
In North Dakota, the robbery charges are Class B felonies with mandatory minimum sentences of four years in prison because a handgun was used. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Pederson also faces a charge of possessing a controlled substance and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
In Minnesota, he faces a felony charge of first-degree aggravated robbery.
On Wednesday, Grand Forks County prosecutor David Jones said Pederson was in the custody of Traill County (N.D.) authorities but will likely make a jail appearance in Grand Forks on the new charges today or Friday.
Pederson's father declined to comment on the charges but said his son, originally from East Grand Forks, is seeking a court-appointed attorney. Grand Forks police would not comment on the case Wednesday.