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Fargo police seek 3 suspects in Stop-N-Go robbery

Police looking for three suspects who robbed a south Fargo Stop-N-Go store this morning also are investigating whether a bomb threat called in shortly before the robbery may have been a diversion.

Lt. Joel Vettel said three male suspects, one of them carrying a long gun, entered the Stop-N-Go store at 602 23rd St. S. at about 6:10 a.m. and demanded money. The female clerk assisted the suspects, who tried to get money out of several drawers, Vettel said.

The suspects left the store when they apparently were startled by someone entering the store or parking lot, he said.

Police are investigating whether the suspects left on foot or by car, Vettel said.

A witness who declined to give his name told reporters he had stopped at the store to get groceries and was walking back to his apartment when he saw a car parked behind the store with three males inside. One of the men got out and went around to the front of the store, he said.

A K-9 unit attempted to track the suspects, but the dog stopped after leading its handler behind the store, Vettel said.

Police are reviewing video surveillance tapes to determine if the suspects took anything from the store, which opened at 5:55 a.m., Vettel said. The clerk was shaken up but not injured, he said.

All three suspects had their faces covered with a variety of clothing, Vettel said. One suspect was described as wearing a black hoodie, jeans and a white shirt; the second was wearing a green coat with stripes on the shoulders; and the third had on a blue hoodie, black gloves and black jeans, he said.

As of 8:30 a.m., police were canvassing the neighborhood with a picture of a person of interest, he said.

Vettel said police are investigating whether the robbery may be related to a string of recent armed robberies in the Fargo-Moorhead area:

Vettel said police are in-vestigating whether the robbery may be related to a string of recent armed robberies in the Fargo-Moorhead area:

- Cash Wise Video at 3060 25th St. S. was robbed by a suspect with a pump-style shotgun at around 11 p.m. Oct. 13.

- Three male suspects, two with guns, robbed the Super 8 Motel in Moorhead on Oct. 10.

- A lone male suspect with a pistol struck at the Cenex Zip Trip in south Fargo during morning rush hour on Oct. 7.

In all three instances, the suspects made off with an undisclosed amount of money, and no one was injured.

Police also are looking into whether someone may have tried to create a di-version by calling police at 5:19 a.m. today about a bomb threat at McKinley Elementary in north Fargo. The call was made from a pay phone at the Kum & Go store at 2237 13th Ave. S. - about six blocks south of the Stop-N-Go that was robbed less than an hour later - and had "a number of officers tied up," Vettel said. Police were pulling fingerprints from the pay phone, he said.

"We don't know if that's connected to this or not, but certainly there's a possibility that it was some sort of distraction technique on their part, so we're following up that lead," he said.

Police went through McKinley and declared it safe, and school officials said it opened as normal this morning.

"There's been no reason to believe it was a credible threat by the caller," Vettel said.

Frank Morrow, who runs a 24-hour day care with his girlfriend about a block north of the Stop-N-Go, said this is the second time this year they've had to lock down the center because of a robbery. On the previous occasion, the suspects were tracked back to the neighborhood, he said.

"As as soon as we saw the squad cars, it was like, 'click,' lock it down," he said as he stood on the corner of 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue South this morning, waiting to speak with police.