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Man gets six years in prison for robberies

Victor Fortner

A Rochester man accused of robbing two people at gunpoint in separate incidents in August has been sent to prison for his crimes.

Victor Steven Fortner, 27, of 215 Elton Hills Drive, A45, had been charged in Olmsted County District Court with two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and one count each of kidnapping and first-degree burglary-assault person in building, all felonies.

He pleaded guilty Jan. 30 to the two robbery charges, and was sentenced Thursday to concurrent prison terms of 78 and 58 months. The kidnapping and burglary charges were dismissed, and Fortner was given credit for 215 days already served.

Rochester police were dispatched at about 12:30 a.m. Aug. 24 for a report of a robbery at a business in the 3700 block of 40th Avenue Northwest. While en route, officers learned there was a second robbery that had just occurred in the area of Valleyhigh Drive and 19th Street Northwest.

The description of the suspect from the robberies led officers to believe the same person had committed both crimes, the report says.


A man at Valleyhigh Drive and 19th Street Northwest told officers he'd been sitting in the parking lot at the business on 40th Avenue listening to the end of a song on the radio when a man — later identified as Fortner — approached the passenger side of his truck and greeted him.

Fortner pulled out a gun, pointed it at the man and demanded his money and phone, the report says. Fortner ordered the victim to throw his keys out the window and began to walk away, but returned almost immediately and said he'd been shot.

Fortner returned the keys and phone to the man and asked for a ride to the hospital, the complaint said. The victim said Fortner was holding his side and held the gun on his lap as they turned onto Valleyhigh Drive. As they approached 19th Street, Fortner told the man to stop because he was going to be sick; he left the truck, threw the victim's money back inside and laughed, saying it was only $15.

Moments later, officers were sent to a residence a half-block away, where a woman said a man — later identified as Fortner, the report says — entered her garage after she drove in. She told officers he displayed a gun and grabbed her purse; as she fought back, Fortner allegedly hit her in the face and head several times during the struggle.

The woman's son said that when he heard screaming, he ran outside and saw Fortner take the purse and run away. The woman's upper lip was split, according to the complaint, and she had blood dripping from the left side of her head.

A neighbor flagged down police and said he'd seen a man dressed in dark clothing get into a small dark car with a loud exhaust that had pulled into a nearby driveway, the complaint said. A police dog tracked the suspect from the woman's garage to the driveway, where officers found the woman's purse and its contents scattered on the ground.

Law enforcement stopped the car not once, but twice; the male driver eventually admitted he'd dropped Fortner off at a business in the 1700 block of U.S. 52 North. According to the complaint, he also told officers Fortner was carrying a BB pistol.

The dog located Fortner hiding in heavy brush near the business, the report says; near him were the bandanna and sunglasses he was reported as wearing, in addition to a knife and some items stolen from the woman's purse. Police later recovered the BB gun, which Fortner admitted to burying in the dirt nearby.


He was taken to Saint Marys Hospital for treatment for bite wounds from the police dog, according to the complaint, where he told police he'd taken the gun from someone he'd fought with earlier in the evening.

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