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Suspect robber at ShopKo nabbed in Minnesota

Jesse Rasmussen

Working with an accomplice last August, he allegedly bullied his way into the ShopKo pharmacy and made off with three large bottles of codeine-laced cough medicine valued at $94.39.

On that same summer day, he and his pal allegedly cased Freeman Drug, with the suspect talking to owner Leah Gavin while the other stood by the back door.

The same pair were also captured on surveillance video entering Walgreen Drug Store on North Main Street.

"There's no question that it's him," said River Falls Police Investigator Chuck Golden.

"Him" is Jesse Edward-Montoya Rasmussen, 22, Minneapolis, arrested last week by St. Paul police and U.S. marshals for over 50 drugstore thefts/robberies in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Rasmussen was being held on $53,000 bail in Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul.

Golden believes Rasmussen and his unidentified partner walked into ShopKo and went to the pharmacy.

While the other distracted the male pharmacist, Rasmussen allegedly walked inside the pharmacy and took the cough syrup.

A female technician confronted Rasmussen. He allegedly told her in an intimidating manner that no one was going to stop him from getting his medicine.

She backed off and the two suspects quickly left.

Golden figures the pair only robbed ShopKo in River Falls because the codeine cough medicine was visible on shelves.

"They can hit it and get out fast," he said.

Besides River Falls, Golden said it appears Rasmussen and another suspect also stole codeine cough medicine from Hudson's Wal-Mart pharmacy and cased the Target pharmacy without stealing anything.

He added that Rasmussen is believed to have stolen pepper spray from Hudson's Fleet Farm. Golden said Minnesota authorities claim Rasmussen and his accomplices have used pepper spray on the faces of pharmacists in that state before robbing them.

The second male suspect -- allegedly with Rasmussen when ShopKo was robbed and Freeman and Walgreen cased -- still hasn't been caught.

However, another suspect with Rasmussen during pharmacy heists in Minnesota was caught and allegedly implicated Rasmussen.

Pharmacies have been hit by these suspects in the Twin Cities and also as far away as Albert Lea and Rochester, Minn.

Golden believes the River Falls robbery is a "solid case." As of yet the St. Croix County district attorney hasn't filed charges against Rasmussen.

Golden has been in close contact with an array of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.