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11:42 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

PV husband and wife thwart alleged armed robbery attempt

PRESCOTT VALLEY – An elderly Prescott couple decided early Sunday afternoon to do everything they could to draw attention to a man who allegedly tried to rob and carjack them at gunpoint.

Now, a 48-year-old North Dakota transient, Laverne Pederson, faces multiple charges in connection with this incident including armed robbery, aggravated assault, attempted kidnapping and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Prescott Valley Police Lt. P.J. Janik said at around 1:15 p.m. in the 7400 block of Highway 69 the couple was loading groceries into their vehicle when the suspect allegedly jumped into the rear seat of their vehicle, pulled a gun and demanded to be driven from the scene.

The victims' refused, got out of the car and started yelling to draw attention to themselves, he said.

Nearby citizens helped the victims by calling 911, he said. Meanwhile, the suspect allegedly left the scene on foot, he said.

Janik said seven minutes after the 911 call, PVPD Officer Mark Postula located the suspect and his weapon about a block away from the incident scene.

"We wouldn't be so fortunate to get him so quickly if wasn't for people calling 911 and giving directions to responding officers as to where he ran to," he said, adding that the suspect was hiding behind a dumpster.

He said Pederson allegedly dumped a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun in a trashcan.

Janik said the couple's actions pleasantly surprised everyone. The outcome may have been completely different if they have not acted promptly, he said.

The suspect's arrest occurred without further incident, he said.

Contact the reporter at mburicadam@prescottaz.com