Father of I-94 robbery suspect 'completely surprised'

1:57 PM, Oct 19, 2013   |    comments
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SARTELL, Minn. - The father of a man believed responsible for a string of armed robberies along I-94 spoke with Kare11 on Friday. Douglas Gravelle, Jr., 34, was arrested at his parents' home Thursday evening and charged with 1st degree aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Law enforcement officers from six departments converged on a quiet street in Sartell armed with a search warrant. The suspect's father, Douglas Gravelle, Sr., said he was completely surprised by the events.

"Approximately 8:30, a quarter to 9:00, a taskforce came to our home," said Gravelle, Sr. "told us they were executing a search warrant.

"Some of the items that we recovered in the search warrant lead us to believe that it is the same person (responsible for the robberies)," said Captain Keith Terlinden, Maple Grove Police.

There were robberies at Burger Kings in Clearwater and Monticello on September 19th. Then, the game stop store in Monticello was held up on October 5th. It was that crime that was the focus of Friday's charges against Gravelle. The kidnapping charge refers to two employees who were detained at gunpoint.

The senior Gravelle said his son has been in personal difficulties recently. "Yeah, he was married. He is divorced now and he had two children," said Douglas Gravelle, Sr. "Well, really three. He has one from a previous thing when he was younger, when he was 15 and he's got some great kids. I just hope that we can keep seeing our grandchildren."

The pain and confusion of the charges were apparent in the brief conversation with the retired corrections officer. "This is really embarrassing," said Gravelle sadly. "I feel I am a failure as a parent and as a citizen. I am going through a mixed bag of emotions. I am staying as neutral as I can, not being judgmental. He has his demons. I have my demons. Every person has their own demons. You have to learn how to deal with them."

The suspect's father noted that his son is "innocent until proven guilty."

Terlinden thanked news media for swift exposure of surveillance photos and videos from the scene of a Burger King hold-up in Maple Grove on Wednesday morning.

"It is important to note that the information came from the media," said Terlinden. "The person that called us said they saw it on TV and also on the website. The media was a pretty key part of solving this crime."

Bail for Douglas Gravelle, Jr. was set at $500,000. His next court appearance at the Wright County Court is October 22nd. Charges in more of the robberies along I-94 are expected at that time.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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