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Fargoan charged in VFW robbery

A 43-year-old man accused of toting a gun and demanding money from the Fargo VFW appeared Tuesday in Cass County District Court. Freddie Lee Baker Jr., 123 Roberts St., Fargo, faces felony robbery and terrorizing charges. East Central District Ju...

A 43-year-old man accused of toting a gun and demanding money from the Fargo VFW appeared Tuesday in Cass County District Court.

Freddie Lee Baker Jr., 123 Roberts St., Fargo, faces felony robbery and terrorizing charges.

East Central District Judge Ralph Erickson set bail for Baker at $20,000 cash or bond.

Court documents show police responded to a call at 6:09 p.m. Sunday about a person inside the VFW, 202 Broadway, with a rifle.

When officers arrived at the bar, a woman told police the man had left. Officers spotted Baker nearby and arrested him, a police report states.

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"Baker eventually admitted to me that he had gone into the VFW carrying a rifle with the intention of robbing the establishment," a report states. "Baker said that he was very short of money and had numerous bills due."

He also told police that he had been at the bar earlier in the day and used a pellet gun given to him by a friend, the report states. Baker was carrying $296 when officers arrested him.

Sharon Sornsin, an employee of the bar, told police Baker pointed the gun at her and demanded money. When she took money out of a cash register and gave it to Baker, she noticed the gun felt like plastic, she told officers.

Before she felt the gun, Sornsin was afraid for her safety. After feeling the gun, Sornsin grabbed for it and Baker dropped some of the money, she told police.

Baker began moving toward a door and Gerald Pedriali grabbed the gun from him, she said.

Pedriali, a former Marine, told officers that he grabbed the rifle after Baker hit him in the head with it.

If convicted, Baker could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison on the robbery charge and five years for terrorizing.

His next court appearance is Sept. 26.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Steven P. Wagner at (701) 241-5542

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