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Suspect in custody following bomb threat at Bismarck bank

A Bismarck police officer at Starion Bank in downtown Bismarck Wednesday morning. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK — A man is in custody after walking into a Bismarck bank Wednesday, April 23, demanding money from an employee and stating he had an explosive device, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Bismarck police got a call at about 9:30 a.m. about a bomb threat at Starion Bank. Lt. Luke Gardiner said Rondal Heitsch, 54, entered the bank, told an employee he wanted money and said he had a bomb in his backpack. Police did not say how much money was requested.

Heitsch was arrested Wednesday about 45 minutes after police were called. The Bismarck Police Department's Bomb Squad and West Dakota SWAT team cleared the building, which took about 30 minutes, according to Gardiner.

Businesses within a two-block radius of Starion Bank were advised to shelter-in-place while police cleared the building, Gardiner said.

Heitsch pleaded guilty to a federal bank robbery charge in 2017.

On Sept. 21, 2016, Heitsch entered Bremer Bank in Bismarck and handed a note to a bank staffer, who passed him $6,045 cash. Bismarck police officers found him later that day by the Missouri River by Expressway Bridge with $6,044 on him.