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WF man suspect in robberies

A former West Fargo man is a suspect in a string of four gunpoint robberies at area convenience stores in summer 2007.

A prosecutor recently charged LaSamuel Richardson III in one Fargo case, declined to file charges in two other Fargo incidents and is reviewing whether to charge him in a West Fargo incident.

The evidence against Richardson, 20, varies in each case, including red bandannas, size 12 shoes and statements from his girlfriend and two men who prosecutors say were paid $100 each to help him flee one scene, court documents show.

"I just didn't think there was quite enough at this point," Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Ryan Younggren said of the two Fargo cases he declined to charge out, adding he can reconsider if additional evidence is presented.

Cass County District Court documents detail the evidence against Richardson and show police in Fargo and West Fargo have listed him as a suspect in three other robberies:

* July 8, 2007 - A man wearing a red handkerchief robbed Loaf 'N Jug at 1201 N. University Drive in Fargo at gunpoint about 12:44 a.m., telling the clerk, "Give me all the money or I'll kill you." The man fled the store with just over $347.

* July 22, 2007 - A man robbed Kum & Go at 1201 9th St. E. in West Fargo at gunpoint about 3:48 a.m. He left with an undisclosed amount of money and was wearing a red-hooded jacket and had a handkerchief over his face.

* Aug. 4, 2007 - A man with a red bandanna over his face robbed Holiday Convenience Store at 101 N. University Drive in Fargo at gunpoint about 4:24 a.m. He fled the scene with $254. Responding police discovered six $1 bills outside the store.

The investigation

Richardson is charged with robbing Kum & Go at 2501 23rd Ave. S. in Fargo on July 23, 2007. A man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a bandanna entered the store about 12:19 a.m., brandished a gun and told two customers to get on the ground and not move or he would shoot them. He pointed the gun at the clerk and demanded money, leaving with an undisclosed amount, police reports state.

Richardson became the focus of the investigation after he was arrested Sept. 2, 2007, in Moorhead. Authorities discovered a .40-caliber handgun and a red bandanna similar to one used in the robberies. Following the arrest, police received an anonymous tip stating Richardson was responsible for the robberies.

While searching his residence, authorities discovered another red bandanna and an empty shoebox for a pair of size 12 Adidas T-Mac 5 basketball shoes. Police found the shoes at Richardson's girlfriend's apartment, noting in police reports that they "match perfectly to the shoes seen on the suspect in both the Holiday and Loaf 'N Jug robberies."

His girlfriend also told police that Richardson has hidden money under her mattress in the past and had told her he committed the West Fargo robbery and was chased on foot.

West Fargo police investigating an August 2007 stabbing - for which Richardson was convicted of aggravated assault last November - spoke to two individuals who implicated Richardson in the July 23, 2007, robbery.

Ibrahim Kamara, 20, told police Richardson asked if he and Dallas Goulet, 20, wanted to make some quick money that night and told them he was going to rob a gas station. Kamara dropped Richardson off across the street and drove to apartments west of the store where they could still see Richardson as they waited.

Richardson came running out, and Goulet took his shirt and threw it in the trunk of the car. They split the money, both receiving about $100, they told police. Goulet said he later threw the clothes away.

Kamara also told police that Richardson has told him he has done other robberies. Goulet told police Richardson said he had "hit" the Kum & Go in West Fargo and then ran home to his mother's residence. Goulet also said Richardson may have told him about another robbery in north Fargo by the Bison Turf, which is located next to the Loaf 'N Jug that was robbed July 8, 2007.

The Fargo men are both charged with misdemeanor criminal facilitation in connection with the Fargo Kum & Go robbery. Neither man helped in the other robberies or saw a gun, they told police.

A court date has not yet been set for the Class B felony robbery charge Richardson faces, and it may be some time before he appears, Younggren said.

Case may take time

Richardson is currently serving a five-year sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud for charges stemming from a Sept. 2, 2007, chase with police that ended after the vehicle he was driving crashed into Ace Hardware Store in Moorhead after he jumped from the vehicle. Richardson became the focus of the robbery investigation following that arrest, court documents state.

His anticipated supervised release date in that case is Jan. 11, 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Richardson is also awaiting sentencing for his November conviction for stabbing another man with a 7-inch kitchen knife in August 2007 in West Fargo. Richardson didn't deny stabbing the man, but argued he did so in self-defense.

In that case, a jury found him not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of aggravated assault, which could carry up to a 10-year sentence. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

"This one might hang out there unfortunately for a bit," Younggren said of the July 23, 2007, robbery case.