A 39-year-old man made a first appearance in U.S. District Court in St. Paul on Tuesday, charged with going on a nine-hour armed-robbery spree last Thursday, holding up three service stations and a Subway restaurant.

U.S. Magistrate Jon T. Huseby ordered that Derrick Lee Spillman of Minneapolis remain in detention pending a Thursday afternoon hearing.

Spillman was charged by the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis with four counts of robbery and one count of using and brandishing a firearm during the spree.

According to a sworn statement filed by Christopher Langert, an FBI agent, Spillman held up a Holiday Gas station at 7295 NE. University Av. in Fridley at 6:56 a.m., a Speedway store at 6545 West River Road in Brooklyn Center at 7:08 a.m., a Subway store at 2147 N. Lowry Av. in Minneapolis at 12:52 p.m. and a Holiday Gas at 9456 N. 27th Av. in New Hope at 3:53 p.m.

In each of the robberies he wore a surgical-style mask and brandished a semiautomatic handgun and demanded money, according to the affidavit. After reviewing surveillance video footage from all four businesses, investigators identified Spillman based on distinctive tattoos and a scar, the complaint says.

Langert wrote that Spillman acknowledged that he was the armed robber depicted in three images made from the videos.

"Spillman said he obtained the gun from an associate, gave it back to the associate and refused to identify that associate," Langert wrote.

Spillman is being charged under the Hobbs Act, the U.S. Attorney's office said. The act was passed in 1946 as an amendment to the 1934 Anti-Racketeering Act, which allows federal prosecutors to charge those who commit armed robberies of businesses engaged in interstate commerce. It was originally designed to thwart labor racketeering and extortion by gangsters such as John Dillinger.

It carries long, mandatory prison terms and can be used when someone uses a gun to rob a business that has anything to do with interstate commerce. Federal prosecutors say they use it to target gun-toting career criminals. State court records show that Spillman was convicted of attempted simple robbery in 2004 and aggravated first-degree robbery in 2008, and again in 2013.

randy.furst@startribune.com 612-673-4224

paul.walsh@startibune.com 612-673-4482