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Man in custody for allegedly sexually assaulting Mapleton travel plaza clerk

MAPLETON, N.D. -- A Fargo man is in custody after Cass County sheriff's deputies allegedly had to kick in a door at a travel plaza here to rescue a clerk he was holding prisoner and sexually assaulting.

MAPLETON, N.D. -- A Fargo man is in custody after Cass County sheriff's deputies allegedly had to kick in a door at a travel plaza here to rescue a clerk he was holding prisoner and sexually assaulting.

The Sheriff's Office received a call shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday about an unwanted man at Gordy's Travel Plaza, said Sgt. Tim Briggeman. He said store guests called 911 after the man, Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ali, accosted the clerk.

When two deputies arrived about 10 minutes later, they heard a disturbance coming from behind the locked door of a room in the travel plaza and kicked in the door, Briggeman said.

Ali and the female clerk were inside the room, said Briggeman, who added it appeared Ali sexually assaulted her after taking her into the room against her will.

She was taken to a local hospital for her injuries, which aren't considered life-threatening.

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It doesn't appear the clerk knew Ali, Briggeman said, and there's no information to suggest he deliberately targeted her or the store, which is located just off the main Mapleton northbound exit on Interstate 94.

"This is why a lot of our rural stores don't have 24-hour service," Briggeman said, pointing out that Cass County is 1,700 square miles and the 10 minutes it took for deputies to arrive likely played a key role in the outcome.

The store has surveillance cameras, but Briggeman did not know if they were activated at the time of the assault. The store's website lists it as having a 6 a.m. opening time.

Gordy's Travel Plaza owners declined an interview request.

Ali, 35, is being held in the Cass County Jail on suspicion of gross sexual imposition, aggravated assault, terrorizing and felonious restraint.

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