by Aaron Brom
Sun Press Newspapers
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office recently arrested a Sartell, Minn., man suspected in a string of robberies, including three Burger Kings and two Game Stops around the Interstate 94 corridor from Maple Grove to St. Cloud.
Douglas Wayne Gravelle, Jr., 34, is currently in the Wright County Jail, and the complaint against him indicates that his ex-wife helped authorities in the case.
Wright County Capt. Dan Anselment said Gravelle was arrested at his home following a search warrant with collaboration from numerous area police departments.
“It was a great collaboration with eight different agencies and the public,” Anselment said. These include Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Maple Grove Police Department, Big Lake Police Department, Central Minnesota Drug Task Force, Sauk Rapids Police Department, Sartell Police Department, Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force.
Anselment said Gravelle is a suspect in multiple robberies, including most recently Wednesday, Oct. 16, at a Maple Grove Burger King. Other fast food locations Gravelle alledgely targeted included Monticello, Big Lake, Clearwater, Sauk Rapids, and St. Cloud.
The Maple Grove location was one of at least three Burger Kings targeted, the others in Clearwater and Monticello. Two Game Stop stores were robbed as well, including in St. Cloud and Monticello.
The sheriff’s office had reported that there were similarities in these robberies where the suspect was described as a white male with an average build wearing a dark colored mask and dark colored clothing.
Images from the Maple Grove robbery confirmed that description. Employees there reported they were approached while opening the store by a white male with a semi-automatic handgun wearing a gray zip up jacket, black ski mask, and gloves. The suspect demanded money and ordered the employees into the cooler. The suspect left the business in a dark in color, possibly a Dodge Durango with an undetermined amount of cash.
The Wright County Attorney’s Office charged Gravelle Friday, Oct. 19.
The complaint said that Gravelle’s ex-wife tipped off Maple Grove Police.
It said Susan Gravelle had a court appearance with her ex-husband Oct. 16, “and when he arrived at the court hearing, the Defendant was wearing the same jacket, jeans and shoes as seen in the surveillance video footage from earlier that morning at the Maple Grove Burger King.”
The complaint also said Susan Gravelle “stated the Defendant has been driving a darker colored Dodge Durango when he picks up and drops off their children for visitation.”
The complaint indicated that the East Central Minnesota Drug Task Force conducted surveillance around Gravelle’s residence. Officers observed the Dodge and Gravelle wearing clothing that was consistent with what the suspect in the Maple Grove Burger King robbery was wearing under his outer jacket.
After a search warrant was issued on Gravelle’s house, the complaint said a detective collected as evidence numerous items positively identified as stolen from the GameStop robbery in Monticello and GameStop robbery in St. Cloud.
“In addition, officers found and collected as evidence several pairs of shoes from defendant’s basement bedroom,” it said.
Numerous other items suspected from robberies were found in Gravelle’s home, including cash.
Charges include first-degree aggravated robbery and kidnapping to facilitate felony or flight.
“We have a lot more investigation work to do on it, but there was a lot of probable cause to make an arrest,” Anselment said. “We’re just trying to wrap everything up as close as we can to this case.”
Contact Aaron Brom at firstname.lastname@example.org