A man robbed of a few thousand dollars in cash found his alleged attacker’s cellphone and called seeking help — from the alleged robber’s mom.

According to charges filed Thursday against two suspects: A man identified as H.M. told police he was drinking on Aug. 15 and was walking on Central Avenue near Lexington Parkway in St. Paul when two men attacked him.

Joseph L. Graves, 22, and Wayne R. Brown, 23, both of St. Paul, are each charged with one count of simple robbery in the attack.

One of the suspects held up a closed folding knife while the other punched H.M. from the other side. The victim fought back, but eventually fell to the ground where one of the men reached into his pocket and pulled out a money clip with $3,800 in cash, the charges said.

The men fled, but one made a mistake that eventually led to their prosecution: He dropped his cellphone at the scene. H.M. found Brown’s phone and called some of the contacts the next day hoping to recover his money.

“H.M. called the contact labeled ‘Mom’ and explained to the woman who answered that her son had robbed him and he wanted his money back,” the complaint said. “The woman told H.M. that she was willing to give … $1,000 if he would just forget about it.”

H.M. called police instead.

The man’s credit card was used to buy $129.12 in prepaid phone cards from Target, which also provided surveillance stills of a suspect who used the credit card.

Police contacted Brown’s mother, who put them in touch with her son. Brown told police he fought with a man, but continued to give false information to police, the charges said. Brown said that he took the man’s coat because he liked it, and only found $2,200 inside it later. The victim was not wearing a coat during the attack.

Brown denied that Graves was involved until he was shown the Target surveillance photos that allegedly show Graves, the complaint said. Graves lives across the street from Brown, and both were arrested in Graves’ apartment.

Graves denied involvement. When he was informed that Brown implicated him, he said, “Man, he sold me out,” and declined to speak further. A folding buck knife was found in his apartment, the charges said.


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