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Fargo credit union robbery suspect texted confession to girlfriend

FARGO - A 24-year-old man accused of robbing a credit union here last month sent a text message to his girlfriend confessing to the crime as police were interviewing her, court documents state.

Using the signals from Denver Lee Tergesen's cell phone, authorities tracked him and arrested him inside a stolen car in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Cass County prosecutors have charged Tergesen, Fargo, with felony robbery and theft of property in connection with the Dec. 18 incident at First Community Credit Union.

Court documents state:

After his arrest, Tergesen confessed to robbing the credit union of nearly $10,000 at gunpoint with his brother's Airsoft handgun and using his girlfriend's car to flee from the credit union at 1801 45th St. S.

Police were called to the scene after a teller reported that a man in a black ski mask and a blue hooded sweatshirt entered the credit union at 11:10 a.m. and pointed a gun, which had blue duct tape on it, at her and demanded money.

"Give me all your money," the teller quoted the man as saying. "You've got 10 seconds."

The man counted down and continued to point the gun at the teller before grabbing a cash drawer containing $9,584.70 and fleeing in a red Pontiac.

A witness told police the vehicle stopped near a dumpster and a man got out and "seemed to mess with the dumpster" before running back into the vehicle and driving away.

Police searching the dumpster found a black handgun with blue duct tape on it, a money tray and change inside the dumpster. Tergesen's brother told police the gun, of the type that fires plastic BBs, belonged to him and was missing from his apartment.

Police located the vehicle, which belonged to Tergesen's girlfriend, outside the apartment he had been staying in, a few blocks away from the credit union.

Tergesen was inside the apartment as police inspected the vehicle, but fled once his aunt, who lived in the apartment, told him police were there.

He later told police he fled on foot and walked to McDonald's where he stole a silver vehicle idling in the parking lot and drove away.

Police found money in both vehicles.

Tergesen's brother told police Tergesen had stopped by his apartment around noon the day of the robbery and dropped off a blue sweatshirt and black ski mask that he had borrowed. Tergesen had been wearing the blue sweatshirt the night before the robbery, his girlfriend told police.

Tergesen is unemployed, addicted to online gambling and has stolen from friends and relatives in the past, his brother told police, saying his brother was having money problems at the time of the robbery.

Tergesen is currently in the Becker County (Minn.) Jail awaiting charges in connection with the case. His next court date on the Becker County charges is Jan. 20

He has not yet made an appearance on the Cass County charges.