W. St. Paul police dramatically end gunman's drug store robbery spree at 3

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2014 - 9:41 AM

The suspect’s vehicle was pushed into a snowbank by police squad car outside the Walgreens on Robert Street.

An ex-convict fleeing in a vehicle from his third armed heist of narcotics from drugstores in six days along the same busy West St. Paul street was rammed into a snowbank by a police squad car and arrested, authorities said Wednesday.

The apprehension of the 38-year-old Minneapolis suspect came about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the Walgreens at 1133 S. Robert St. He has yet to be charged.

Officers responded to the robbery call and saw the suspect trying to leave the parking lot in his vehicle, police said. An officer used his cruiser to intercept the fleeing robber’s car and push the vehicle into a snowbank in the lot. The man surrendered peacefully.

Police Lt. Brian Sturgeon said that choosing a busy time of day for this holdup “was his downfall. We had numerous callers … [reporting] this at the same time.”

The swift response from the public, police added, was crucial to halting the gunman’s string of crimes.

The other two recent pharmacy holdups attributed by police to this suspect also occurred along Robert Street.

On Friday, police were called to the CVS at 1471 S. Robert St. at 6:15 p.m. after a man approached the pharmacy, pulled out a handgun and demanded prescription medications.

Based on surveillance images, the suspect appeared to match the description of the gunman who robbed the Target pharmacy of narcotics a day earlier at 1750 S. Robert St. That holdup prompted the entire Target store to be locked down briefly while authorities searched for the gunman.

The suspect has been committing crimes since the mid-1990s, most of them in Goodhue County, where he used to live. He’s been convicted four times for theft, five times for drug offenses, twice for assault and twice for disorderly conduct, according to court records.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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