Drug heist considered motive for Moorhead robbery
MOORHEAD -- Where is the cash? Where is the weed?
According to accounts from the victims, that's what three armed men asked in an alleged robbery in a Moorhead apartment last month police believe was a bungled drug heist involving at least seven men, five who face charges.
They didn't get what they were looking for because they were in the wrong place, investigators think.
The suspects were trying to steal pot from purported drug dealers who allegedly sold marijuana to some of them a few months earlier, but they hit the wrong apartment unit, according to search warrants and court complaints filed in connection with the case.
According to those court records:
A plan was hatched when one of the suspects charged in the alleged robbery, 30-year-old Joshua Charles Lowe of Mapleton, N.D., heard a co-worker at Grand Junction in south Fargo talk about an upcoming marijuana shipment, Lowe told police on Nov. 20.
Lowe told police that he and John Kukert Jr., 21, of Fargo, discussed taking the marijuana from the co-worker's roommate, who lived in an apartment complex at 908 8th St. S.
Ex-roommates of the suspected dealer identified Lowe, Kukert and Jason Christopher Pendleton, 23, of Lincoln, N.D., from a Kmart surveillance video showing them and a fourth man - identified in court records only as "Nate" - buying ski masks and other black clothes the same night as the Nov. 8 robbery.
Lowe told detectives that he, Kukert and four other friends decided they would use a fake pizza delivery to get the apartment residents to open the door and then planned to rush in armed to take the pot.
Lowe said on the night of the robbery, before the four men went to Kmart, they stopped at the Sunmart near Interstate 94. An unidentified man walked up to their car and handed Kukert a Domino's pizza shirt and pizza bag.
The four men who went to Kmart at about 6 p.m. met later on Nov. 8, Lowe said, at the Fargo home of 24-year-old Noah James Anderson with the alleged fake pizza man, who police believe was Jean Edward Roubideaux, 21, of Fargo.
Kukert carried a shotgun, Pendleton a .22-caliber handgun and Anderson a 6-inch knife, Lowe told investigators. He drove the three men to the apartment and said the man identified in court records as "Nate" drove Roubideaux, who'd donned the Domino's gear.
After the incident, Lowe told police, Kukert was angry with him because a diagram he drew of the apartment was wrong. The apartment they were aiming for was actually the floor above the one shown in Lowe's drawing, he said.
Lowe, Pendleton, Kukert, Anderson and Roubideaux have all been charged with robbery, burglary and assault in connection with the incident. Police are still seeking Roubideaux and Kukert, but the other three have been arrested, and all posted $1,500 cash to get out of the Clay County Jail.
Anderson's attorney, Jon Erickson of Coon Rapids, Minn., said his client was not involved in the alleged robbery and the only thing implicating him is what Lowe has told detectives.
"I don't believe Mr. Lowe for a second," Erickson said. "They're going to have to have more than that."
Erickson said there's no physical evidence linking Anderson to the incident, and Minnesota law doesn't allow a conviction to be based solely on the testimony of a co-defendant.
"There has to be sufficient corroborating evidence," he said.
Lowe's lawyer, Jonathan Judd of Fargo, and Brian Toay, a Fargo attorney representing Pendleton, both said they weren't yet ready to discuss the allegations.
Orange and black gloves described by Lowe as being worn by Anderson were later found in a backyard near the apartment building, and police have taken DNA samples of Pendleton and Anderson.
Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson said because the investigation is still open, he couldn't discuss specifics of the case. Charges could be filed against additional suspects, he said.
Jacobson did say that the more individuals involved in a crime, the more likely it is that they'll be caught.
"Humans talk. We're social creatures," he said.