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Two brothers arrested in Dollar General robbery in Deer River

Two brothers, one from Duluth, face felony charges of aggravated robbery after allegedly robbing a Dollar General store in Deer River while brandishing an air pistol earlier this week.

Norman Wayne Cutbank III, 22, of Duluth and Montana Oshki Ayaabe Cutbank, 18, of Cass Lake appeared in State District Court in Grand Rapids on Friday for their alleged involvement in the Wednesday robbery. They each face a charge of aggravated robbery in the first degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or a $35,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint:

Deputies received a report of an armed robbery at the Dollar General in Deer River at 8:35 p.m. Wednesday. Employees stated that two suspects came into the store, grabbed several items off shelves and approached the checkout where one of the suspects brandished what appeared to be a handgun. The suspects were wearing hooded sweatshirts that were tied around their faces.

The suspects took all of the cash from the till, about $250 to $500, and then left, according to court documents. Deputies canvassed the area and learned that the suspects were picked up in a silver Mercury Mountaineer.

According to court documents, on Thursday deputies received information that a person traveling to work located a backpack which contained clothing matching the description of what was worn by the suspects during the robbery. Officers also located a piece of paper inside the bag containing numerous phone numbers, one of which was labeled "dad." Deputies contacted that person by phone, and he was identified as the suspects' father.

At 2:15 p.m Thursday, officers located the suspect vehicle in Cass Lake and identified two of the occupants as Norman Cutbank III and Montana Cutbank. According to court documents, after searching the vehicle, a bag and air pistol were found and matched the description of items carried by the suspects at the Dollar General.

Both suspects are due back in court on Monday.

When he was 17, Norman Cutbank III pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and aiding and abetting second-degree assault in connection with an October 2012 incident in Duluth in which a 17-year-old girl was stabbed and beaten, and an 18-year-old man beaten.

According to news accounts, Cutbank testified that he struck both victims with a baseball bat, but he didn't know anything about the stabbing. He was sentenced to 5½ years in prison.

Court records also indicate that Norman Cutbank III was convicted of fifth-degree assault in 2017, and Itasca County officials said he currently has a pending first-degree aggravated robbery charge in St. Louis County.

According to the complaint, Montana Cutbank also has a pending gross misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree controlled substance crime in Cass County, and an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court on Jan. 10.