A 20-year-old St. Paul man was charged with armed robbery in federal court Friday in connection with the August stickup at a Minnesota State Fair craft beer exhibit.
According to federal charges and other documents, Antonio Washington and an accomplice made off with more than $100,000 after holding a gun to the head of one of the victims.
The robbery, at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Exhibit in the fair’s Agriculture Horticulture Building, was reported to State Fair police at 11:15 p.m. Aug. 29 after the exhibit closed. According to an affidavit by FBI special agent Julia Hunter:
An employee of the vendor operating the exhibit was counting the day’s proceeds when he heard the door open. A man, later identified as Washington, pointed a gun at the employee’s head and demanded all the money.
When a second employee arrived, another suspect who had been acting as a lookout entered the office. Both suspects bound the employees to chairs with duct tape and then filled bags with money from that day’s sales. They took approximately $104,000 in cash.
On Aug. 30, Washington went to a St. Paul car dealership with another person and bought two cars for $6,000 in cash.
On Sept. 4, Washington was stopped by police in Faribault. Officers recovered a .22 caliber revolver that matched the description of the gun used in the robbery.
Officers arrested Washington on Sept. 17, at which point he confessed to the crime. He said he used some of the stolen cash to buy jewelry and clothes at the Mall of America.
There has been no word on whether his alleged accomplice has been arrested. Officials said Friday that the investigation continues.
The case is being handled by federal authorities because the robbery affected interstate commerce, officials said. Thousands of customers who purchased beer at the exhibit were from out of state and an out-of-state company insured the beer exhibit.
“The Great Minnesota Get Together is a local institution,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a statement. “The State Fair should be about family fun with corn on the cob, cows and carnival rides. As charged, this defendant disrupted our collective nostalgia by bringing violence to this summer ritual.”