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Million volts help power latest Craigslist robbery

  • Article by: JOY POWELL
  • Star Tribune
  • October 23, 2012 - 10:54 PM

Two men have been charged with the metro area's latest Craigslist robbery, and this one carried a stunning twist: The robbers allegedly used a 1 million volt stun gun to shock their victim early Sunday

Criminal complaints against two men, who appeared in court Tuesday, say they robbed a man who had advertised a laptop for sale on the popular site for online classifieds.

This victim survived, but other Minnesotans have been slain in recent years responding to Craigslist ads, including a 19-year-old Hamline student shot to death in August as he tried to buy an iPhone on St. Paul's East Side.

Tuesday, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi warned consumers once again to take care in such Internet transactions, which have been tied to a string of robberies in St. Paul since last summer.

In the Sunday robbery, a paroled bank robber, Dee A. King, 33, of Anoka, and codefendant Ronald L. Sims, 36, of Minneapolis, are each charged with two counts of first-degree robbery.

Criminal complaints and a prosecutor's statements in court Tuesday allege this:

Victim Jeff Hanson went to the Burger King at 695 E. 7th St. in St. Paul after being contacted by someone interested in buying a laptop he'd advertised on Craigslist.

The buyer, later identified as King, pulled up in a blue SUV, and got into Hanson's vehicle. King looked at the laptop and left to get money.

Hanson took out his cellphone and had his wallet in his lap, intending to show King his identification to verify that the laptop wasn't stolen. King returned to the car with a man later identified as Sims, who carried a large object in his hand.

Hanson later told police that he felt as if he "had been zapped by electricity."

"Hand it over!" the robbers repeated before snatching his laptop, wallet and cellphone. They left in the blue SUV.

Hanson tried to follow them but stopped and went into the Burger King to call police. He had two puncture wounds on his forearm and scratches.

Officers stopped a blue Chrysler Pacifica at W. 7th and Leech Streets. It had a license plate with numbers close to what Hanson provided, and he identified the two suspects as the men who robbed him, the complaint says.

Police searched the SUV and seized a black Zap Baton stun gun hidden between seats. It had two sharp probes that matched the pattern of burns on Hanson's forearm.

King has a felony theft conviction and a federal conviction for bank robbery, for which he's remained under supervision. He was being held without bail on that.

In addition, Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson set $50,000 bail for King and Sims in the new robbery, noting the seriousness of the case.

Sims has a federal drug conviction in Minnesota and an auto theft conviction in Illinois.

They were in the Ramsey County jail Tuesday, with evidence hearings set for Nov. 6.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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