A burglary that took place in Fargo on this date in 1966 was wrapped up in thirty minutes flat. That's how long it took Fargo-Moorhead officers to open and close the case, arresting six individuals and recovering over twelve hundred dollars in only twenty-three minutes.
Three men entered the Southside Red Owl store in Fargo around 5 p.m. The men milled around, eyeing the customers. Finally, around 5:55 p.m., the men approached a check-out counter and aimed a .38 caliber pistol at the clerk. One of the men ordered Duane Larsen, the store manager, to let another man behind the counter. The men proceeded to fill a large burlap sack with small bills from two of the cash registers before fleeing out the back entrance. As the men fled, Larsen phoned in the robbery to police. The time was 6:02. Meanwhile, store cashier Harriett McShane saw the three men hop into a vehicle running next to hers. There appeared to be others in the car, and McShane heard the men holler, "Let's go!" McShane, suspecting foul play, jotted down the car's make and license number. She relayed this information to her manager, who gave it to the police.
Two Moorhead officers pulling off of Center Avenue near the Fargo-Moorhead bridge heard the announcement about the robbery just as a vehicle matching the description of the getaway car sped past. Following the car, the officers discovered that the license plate number matched that of the robbers, and radioed headquarters. At 6:25, several police cars intercepted the thieves at the Moorhead weigh station on the east end of the city, just thirty minutes after the incident began.
Four men and two women, all of Minnesota, were arrested for the robbery. It was later discovered that one of the men, Richard Barness, was a children's story writer, who had spent nearly half of his life behind bars. The writer wrote a short story while incarcerated at the Cass County jail, for which he received a check for $25.00.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
The Fargo Forum. Sunday (Morning ed.), January 16, 1966: p.1, A-2.
The Fargo Forum. Sunday (Morning ed.), January 30, 1966: p.B-1.