Robbery suspect allegedly spoke with clerk, then came back

Published 11:21am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A store clerk says the suspect in a Blooming Prairie robbery bought items and held a conversation within an hour of returning and robbing the store at gunpoint on Oct. 26.

The suspect, Joseph James Oswald, 34, was charged Monday in Steele County District Court for felony first-degree aggravated robbery.

A Dodge County deputy and Blooming Prairie police officer went to the Casey’s General Store at about 4 a.m. that day after an employee reported the robbery. The suspect allegedly entered the store, pulled a pistol and demanded all of the $20 bills.

However, according to the complaint, the employee recognized the suspect as he was in the store earlier and even mentioned he was related to people in the area. Oswald allegedly walked around the store and acted strangely, according to the complaint. He also bought items but had to put some back as he did not have enough money. The employee said when the suspect entered the second time, he was wearing a hat and pulled a scarf over his face before he pulled the pistol.

A Minnesota state trooper later encountered a rollover on Highway 30 near Hayfield. The employee, who had also seen the suspect’s vehicle, went with an officer to the area and immediately identified the suspect as Oswald.

After searching Oswald at the Steele County Detention Center, authorities reportedly found $220 in $20 bills in his sock. An officer later spoke with the store manager, who confirmed $220 was missing.

The alleged robbery is the second in the Blooming Prairie Casey’s in just less than a  year.

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