News Briefs: Suspect in armed robbery of Fargo bank arrested

The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. MINNESOTA Suspect in armed robbery of Moorhead Wells Fargo bank branch arrested in Fargo FARGO - A suspect in the armed robber...

The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.


Suspect in armed robbery of Moorhead Wells Fargo bank branch arrested in Fargo

FARGO – A suspect in the armed robbery of a Moorhead bank on Monday was arrested in Fargo at about 6:15 Tuesday night, according to a release from the city of Moorhead.

Malcolm Roy Evans, 52, of Fargo was arrested at a motel in south Fargo on charges related to aggravated robbery and kidnapping, the release said. He is being held in the Cass County Jail.


The suspect allegedly displayed a firearm and robbed a Wells Fargo bank inside the Hornbacher’s grocery store at 101 11th St. S. shortly before noon Monday. The suspect then fled to a nearby liquor store where he stole a vehicle with a man still inside, according to Moorhead police.

The robber ordered the man in the vehicle to drive to Fargo and let him out near West Acres mall, Lt. Brad Penas said in a previous report.

That man was not hurt, nor was anyone else at the time, and the recent release said there were no injuries during the arrest Tuesday night.

The stolen vehicle, however, has not been located, and police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating the maroon, four-door 2010 Ford F-150, with Minnesota license plate 007NBD. The pickup was last seen northbound on 42nd Street South near 13th Avenue South in Fargo.

Victims of deadly Paynesville crash identified  

PAYNESVILLE, Minn. -- The two people killed Sunday evening about 9 p.m. in a one-vehicle rollover crash west of Paynesville have been identified, according to a release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

The driver of the vehicle, Zachary John Pistulka, 20, of rural Atwater, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead after being transported by ambulance to Paynesville Area Hospital.

One passenger, Emily Kathryn Fuglie, 20, of rural Sunburg, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.


Another passenger was transported by ambulance to Paynesville Area Hospital for what were described as non-life-threatening injuries, according to the news release.

The crash is currently under investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

Man caught months later in marijuana growing operation

ADRIAN, Minn. - An Adrian man has been taken into custody at the Nobles County Jail for drug charges dating back almost two years ago after he was arrested in Fargo, N.D.

A warrant was issued for Benjamin Spanbauer, 31, in October 2013 after he failed to appear in court on six different felony sale and possession marijuana charges from a bust in January of 2013 in the far southern Minnesota town.

According to the criminal complaint, the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force agents executed a search warrant on Jan. 3, 2013, at his home in Adrian where officers located 43 marijuana plants in two separate rooms in the basement. Agents found 54 grams of processed marijuana in one of the rooms, along with numerous pieces of grow equipment including lights, potting soil, hydroponic equipment, chemicals and expanded clay, said the complaint. Also found, said the officers, were smoking devices, scales, rolling papers, baggies and a marijuana grinder.

Spanbauer was renting the home, which was near Adrian High School, so he’s facing  two counts of fourth-degree sale of marijuana in a school zone. The other charges are two counts of fifth-degree sale of marijuana, two counts of fifth-degree possession of marijuana and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Spanbauer was arrested Dec. 13 by the Fargo police. He was then brought into custody at the Nobles County Jail on Dec. 23, and is being held on a $10,000 bail bond with conditions.


State Patrol identifies rollover fatality victim near Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn. -- The Minnesota State Patrol Tuesday identified the victim in a rollover fatality that took place Monday afternoon in Crow Wing County as Patricia C. Tougas, 76, of Brainerd. The accident took place near the junction of Highway 25 and County Road 2.

Tougas was heading north on Highway 25, south of Brainerd, when the Jeep Grand Cherokee drifted into the northbound ditch and vaulted over a driveway approach, landing on its roof. The accident took place at about 2:30 p.m. Monday.

While stopping for emergency traffic on Highway 25 following the fatal crash, three other drivers sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a two-vehicle rear-end collision, the state patrol reported.

Woodrow Banks, 95, Crosby, failed to stop the vehicle he was driving in time and ran into the vehicle driven by 16-year-old Molly Lybeck of Brainerd.

Banks, Lybeck and Lybeck's passenger, 16-year-old Priya Rozario of Baxter, were all transported to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center for treatment.

The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene.

Video camera records fight where man charged with manslaughter

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- A video camera caught a fight in Thief River Falls, Minn., that ended in the death of a man from a severe brain injury, according to court records.

Shaun Robert Brandt, 34, of Thief River Falls, was charged with second degree manslaughter and first degree assault, both felonies, after he allegedly pushed Blaine, Minn., resident Brad Friesen on Dec. 17 and knocked him unconscious.

The video reportedly shows a group of people bringing Friesen outside the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Thief River Falls and Brandt pushing him to the ground, court records say. Brandt then made a 911 call to request an ambulance, court records say.

Friesen was taken to Sanford Health, where it was found he was suffering from a "massive intracranial bleed," according to court records. Medical documents also reportedly show he had sustained multiple skull fractures.

Court documents say Friesen was pronounced brain dead five days after the fight on Dec. 22 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

Brandt's next scheduled court appearance is Feb. 26 in Minnesota 9th District Court in Thief River Falls. If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

Fargo man dies in snowmobile accident near Montevideo

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. - A North Dakota man died Friday night in a snowmobile accident north of Montevideo, according to the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office.

Joshua Peter Decock, 34, of Fargo, was driving a snowmobile on 10th Street Northeast at the time of the accident, Chippewa County Sheriff Stacy Tufto said.

Decock was found at the bottom of a drainage ditch and transported by ambulance to the Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a news release from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office. He was the only person involved in the crash.


900 homes lose natural gas in cold spell

BEACH, N.D. - More than 900 households in western North Dakota and eastern Montana were without natural gas heating Tuesday afternoon as temperatures dropped below zero.

Montana-Dakota Utilities experienced a natural gas outage in Golden Valley County in North Dakota and Wibaux County in Montana, according to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

The outage involved the cities of Beach, Golva, Sentinel Butte and Wibaux, Mont.

Emergency locations have been set up in each city where customers affected by the outage can go to stay warm. They include fire hall meeting rooms in Beach, Golva and Sentinel Butte and the Wibaux Fairgrounds.

Mark Hanson, MDU’s public relations director, said the shutdown was due to a frozen valve and the problem required the company to shut off the natural gas at every home in the affected communities until the company can regain adequate gas pressure in the lines.

Hanson said MDU had an estimated 70 employees working to correct the problem and restore heat to people’s homes.

“We brought in a lot of techs from surrounding communities,” Hanson said.

The temperature in the two counties remained at about zero Tuesday afternoon with wind chills as low as 20-below zero and prompted a wind chill advisory, according to the National Weather Service.

Hanson said he didn’t have a time estimate for when heat would be restored. He said the gas meters in the four communities had been shut off early Tuesday afternoon and MDU’s staff would be turning back on the natural gas lines as soon as possible.

8,500 more sign up for health insurance in N.D.

BISMARCK -- During the first month of open enrollment for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, 8,528 people in North Dakota signed up for a plan beginning Jan. 1, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

That number reflects people who enrolled between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15, but it does not include those who were automatically re-enrolled in the same plan after buying coverage last year. People had to sign up by Dec. 15 to get coverage Jan. 1.

Thirty-nine percent of people who signed up during the first month entered into a Marketplace plan for the first time. The others switched from one plan to another. About 88 percent of enrollees qualified for subsidies to lower their monthly premiums, up from 82 percent at this time last year.

Nationwide, more than 4 million people signed up during the first month. The most recent data available shows that, as of Friday, nearly 6.5 million people had enrolled.

Enrollment continues through Feb. 15 to gain coverage during 2015 and avoid a federal tax penalty for the year. To sign up, visit or call 800-318-2596 .

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