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Willmar armed robbery suspect now charged with possessing stolen firearms

WILLMAR -- A juvenile suspected of participating in an armed robbery in October was in court again this week, charged with possession of stolen firearms.Frederick Crispin Rodriguez, 17, of Willmar, has been charged with five felony counts of rece...

Suspect
Frederick Crispin Rodriguez, 17, of Willmar, has been charged with five felony counts of receiving stolen property.

WILLMAR - A juvenile suspected of participating in an armed robbery in October was in court again this week, charged with possession of stolen firearms.
Frederick Crispin Rodriguez, 17, of Willmar, has been charged with five felony counts of receiving stolen property. Felony court proceedings involving juveniles 16 or older are public.
Rodriguez has been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in connection to the armed robbery. After cocaine residue was found during a search of his home, he was also charged with fifth-degree drug possession.
The Kandiyohi County Attorney’s Office has sought to have Rodriguez certified to stand trial as an adult on the felony charges.
Following a hearing Friday, Judge Donald Spilseth is considering the request. A decision is likely to come after the first of the year.
Rodriguez is the youngest of four defendants suspected in an Oct. 23 armed robbery of Sunray Express and Sunray Spirits along Kandiyohi County Road 5.
Three of the defendants were arrested in early November, and Rodriguez turned himself in several days later.
At the time, authorities alleged that Rodriguez had provided the 9mm handgun and sawed-off shotgun that were used in the robbery.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Rodriguez this week, the Renville County Sheriff’s Office received a tip Nov. 18 that Rodriguez was linked to a rifle that had been reported stolen from a Minnesota State Patrol squad car Oct. 12 in Renville.
During the investigation, Renville County authorities interviewed a juvenile witness who said Rodriguez had shown him a number of firearms, including two sawed-off shotguns with pistol grips, a black powder rifle, a double-barrel shotgun, a 9mm pistol, a revolver and a small pistol, according to the complaint.
Another witness was interviewed and said he was concerned about “the people that Frederick knows,” according to the complaint. That witness allegedly told authorities that Rodriguez had told him about stealing the State Patrol rifle, which was in a gun lock inside a locked vehicle. Rodriguez allegedly said it had taken him several hours to get the gun free.
A small amount of blood was found in the State Patrol squad after the theft, according to the complaint.
The witness said that Rodriguez had taken him and a relative out shooting at an abandoned house north of Willmar. He said that the rifle belonged to his father, then later told the witness the story of stealing it from the State Patrol vehicle.
The witness said that Rodriguez had buried several guns along a tree line near Rodriguez’s home in northwest Willmar while the witness acted as a lookout, according to the complaint.
Agents of the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force went to a small wooded area south of Seventh Avenue Northwest and west of Kandiyohi County Road 5, according to the complaint.
Under a discarded couch and mattresses, they found a soft spot in the dirt. As they dug, they found a number of stolen firearms.
The weapons listed in the complaint included: a Remington 870 Wingmaster 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun; a Benelli Nova 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun; a Remington .556 rifle; a Savage .22-caliber WMR rifle with scope; a Ruger P85 9mm handgun; a Charles Daly Field 20-gauge shotgun; and a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 .556-caliber rifle. The Smith & Wesson rifle was identified as the one stolen from the State Patrol vehicle.
Several of the weapons found were linked to Willmar Police Department reports of stolen weapons. They included the May 29 report of a Charles Daly shotgun stolen from a vehicle; the June 30 report of two shotguns, a Remington 870 and a Benelli Nova, stolen from a gun safe in a residence; the Aug. 8 report of a Ruger 9mm handgun with case, magazines and  ammunition stolen from a vehicle; the Aug. 21 report of a Remington AR-15, Savage .22 rifle, magazines and other items stolen from a vehicle; and the Oct. 12 theft of the State Patrol rifle.

Related Topics: CRIME
In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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