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Man suspected of robbing Fargo bank, two others, nabbed in dramatic fashion -- Police say hostages tackled South Dakota man

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - A South Dakota man suspected of robbing three area banks in one week - including one in Fargo - was captured here Saturday night following a dramatic set of events.

William Roy St. John, 43, was nabbed by police after a hostage he had taken and two other people from the hostage's home turned on St. John and tackled him, allowing police to catch up and arrest him, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshal's Office in North Dakota.

On Saturday, an off-duty police officer saw St. John unsuccessfully try to carjack a vehicle from a person near the Lucky 13 Bar in Bloomington.

The off-duty officer tried to intercede, but St. John stated he had a gun, and the officer then told people in the area to back off, according to the release.

St. John fled the area on foot and then tried to break into three nearby occupied homes, telling each resident he had a gun.

Police closed in on St. John at the third home, so he took a hostage there, the release said. As St. John tried to leave the home with the hostage, two other residents tackled him, allowing police to arrest him.

St. John was recently released from a federal prison in Missouri.

He was first identified by a South Dakota-based federal agent, who recognized him from surveillance footage following a Dec. 31 robbery of a south Fargo Bank of the West branch.

Within five days, he had robbed two other banks - one in Bloomington and another in Arden Hills, Minn.

In all three robberies, St. John is alleged to have handed a note to the teller demanding cash and intimating he had a weapon. The amounts of cash taken have not been disclosed.

Dan Orr, chief deputy U.S. marshal for North Dakota, wrote Saturday night that on three separate occasions within the past two days, authorities were only minutes behind St. John.

The U.S. Marshals Service's High Plains Fugitive Task Force in Fargo had been working since Tuesday with the deputy U.S. marshals in Minneapolis to find St. John.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 237-7311