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Grand Forks, ND (WDAZ-TV)

Violent crimes are on the rise in Grand Forks.

Those in charge of solving them say that problem is likely here to stay.

And those same investigators are having a tough time tracking down suspects.

As cars zoom up and down South Washington…in recent weeks armed robbers have been hiding inside.

"You can't fix stupidity,” said Dennis Johnson the owner of Wall’s Pharmacy. 

The latest target KFC. An armed gunman held up the fast food joint Sunday night around 9:45. It's unclear how the suspect got inside. The store had been closed for 45 minutes. 

“It's always concerning when a handgun is displayed, we are fortunate no one got hurt,” said Grand Forks Police Sergeant Bill Wyatt.   

This is the third stickup since late November. The Little Caesars on Gateway was robbed by two gunmen, then in January the Valley Dairy on Columbia was robbed at knifepoint, and then another gun toting bandit held up the Valley Dairy on South Washington a few weeks later.

The description of the suspects in the Little Caesars heist and the KFC robbery are similar though it's unclear if they are connected. 

"It's crimes of opportunities, are you really going to go in with your barehanded or carry something to threaten somebody," commented Wyattt.

 Police say though they aren't shocked by the increase of armed bandits looking for quick cash. 

“We are growing as a city and as we grow we are going to have more of those big city problems, people need to be aware of their surroundings and protect their property. 

At Wall's Pharmacy right next to KFC, they have taken all the security precautions they can, especially with drug hungry addicts always looking for a quick fix though sometimes that isn't enough. 

“If people are that desperate there is nothing you can do to prevent these things from happening,” said Johnson.

But despite danger right next door, it's gotta stay business as usual.

“Not going to close up the doors because there was a robbery,” said Johnson.

The suspects is a white man about 6 feet tall, 200 pounds. 

He was wearing a black ski mask and a black hooded sweatshirt with the phrase "Mossy Oak" written in camouflage.