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Suspicious man has Fertile officials on the look out

If Fertile, Minn., residents didn't lock their doors before, they likely will now. The Polk County Sheriff's Department is "aggressively investigating" two reports of a male who entered homes while females were alone, Deputy Scott Bixby said. In ...

If Fertile, Minn., residents didn't lock their doors before, they likely will now.

The Polk County Sheriff's Department is "aggressively investigating" two reports of a male who entered homes while females were alone, Deputy Scott Bixby said.

In two reports, one from July 26 and the other from Aug. 19, a man entered homes between midnight and 3 a.m., the women told investigators.

Each time he was spotted by the resident, the man fled.

Two other incidents have sheriff's officials concerned, too.

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Investigators are looking into two reports in which a suspicious male was spotted outside homes of women, Bixby said.

One of those incidents was within the past week, but Bixby wouldn't provide the date.

All four incidents were reported within a few blocks of each other, he said.

There have been no reports of forced entry, theft or confrontations with women, the Sheriff's Department said.

Those facts have warranted a warning by authorities to Fertile residents: lock windows and doors, keep an outside light on at night, change routines periodically and report suspicious activity immediately.

The man is described as about 6 feet tall, 170 to 180 pounds with medium build.

About 900 people live in Fertile, a town 25 miles southeast of the Polk County seat of Crookston.

Bartender Ennie Johnson said she plans to be extra cautious when she finishes her night shifts at the Fertile American Legion at 1:30 a.m. The single mother said she always locks her house and car.

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"It used to be you didn't have to (lock your door), but more and more you do," Johnson said Wednesday.

DeBaughn Hanson was working at Fertile's Eats and Antiques Wednesday and said many customers mentioned hearing about the suspicious man.

"I think everybody's worried about it," Hanson said. "Fertile is a small town and everybody knows everybody."

The July 26 and Aug. 19 incidents were not reported until the following day, making it more difficult for authorities to investigate, Bixby said.

Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff's Department at (218) 281-0431.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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