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Published December 20, 2009, 11:03 PM

Two Armed Robberies In GF Within 20 Minutes

Both Budget Music and Taco Bell on South Washington street were robbed on Sunday.

By: Casey Wonnenberg, WDAZ

It's the latest in a string of armed robberies in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

Both Budget Music and Taco Bell on South Washington street were robbed on Sunday.

It happened within 20 minutes of each other at around 2:00 this afternoon. A man with a handgun went into both Budget Music and Taco Bell on South Washington Street, demanding money.

Sgt. Derik Zimmel with the Grand Forks Police Department says, "To this point nobody has been hurt, which is a good thing."

Sergeant Zimmel says in his 11 years with the Grand Forks Police Department, he's never seen this many robberies in the city in such a short period of time. Seven businesses in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks have been hit by an armed robber within the last week and a half.

Zimmel says, "That's been the talk around here…how many people have seen a stretch such as this, and it's been years and years and years."

Police say they're not sure if the seven robberies are related, but it is a possibility. The descriptions of the suspects are very similar in all seven robberies. Today's two were described the same, aside from some clothing differences.

"It could have been a clothing change. It could have been two people working together. One goes into one place. One goes into the other,” says Zimmel.

The robber has hit some unusual places at unusual times of day. Today's two robberies took place in plain daylight on one of the busiest streets in Grand Forks.

"I don't know that there's any one way for a person who commits this sort of crime to act. Every time it's going to be different. There's going to be something unusual about it, and our job is to figure out what connects all of these together,” says Zimmel.

For now Zimmel says businesses should just be aware of the robberies and train their employees on what to do if it happens to them.

"Be vigilant, be aware of who's coming in, who's leaving, suspicious activity,” says Zimmel.

Police say the man who robbed Taco Bell was about 5’8” to 6’0” tall with a thin build. The suspect was also wearing a brown or tan colored camouflage jacket, medium-colored blue jeans, dark-colored shoes and a dark ski mask.

In the Budget Music robbery, the suspect is described as a man again about 5’8” to 6’0” tall and having a thin build.

Police say he was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored pants, a winter-type mask and possibly a dark stocking cap.

If you have any information, call Grand Forks Police at 787-8000.

You can also call crime stoppers at 746-1000. They're offering a reward of one thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber.

The robber did get away with some money at Budget Music today but ran out of the store before getting any cash at Taco Bell.

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