More serious charges have been leveled against a man who authorities say choked a 75-year-old Maplewood woman in a violent home invasion robbery, while police have arrested a second suspect.
Deandre V. Wims, 25, was charged Thursday with first-degree aggravated robbery, kidnapping and first-degree burglary in connection with the Jan. 2 robbery, one day after he was accused of using credit cards stolen in the home invasion and a separate December burglary in the same area.
Police say the 75-year-old woman was leaving her townhouse when a female suspect approached her asking to use the phone. When she declined, the suspect held her at gunpoint while she called two others, who ransacked the home, tied up the victim and stole jewelry and credit cards before using clothing to choke her to unconsciousness. The female suspect, a 23-year-old from Minneapolis arrested during a traffic stop Wednesday, has not yet been charged. A third suspect has not yet been arrested, but Maplewood police say they know who he is.
According to charges against Wims, once inside the home, the men ripped the phone cords from the wall while the woman took the victim’s driver’s license and credit cards. After taking the victim’s watch and an opal ring, one of the male suspects demanded that she lie between her bed and dresser, then choked her with a cloth until she passed out. When she regained consciousness, they were gone.
Maplewood police received information about the female suspect, who allegedly told an acquaintance that she needed a ride to the bus station so she could get out of town. She allegedly confessed that she had done something bad and that it was all over the news.
The female was arrested during a traffic stop Wednesday. Police found a passport from the December burglary, credit cards and a handgun in her car.
After her arrest, the female suspect allegedly told police that she agreed to participate in the robbery with the other two suspects, and that once inside, they wanted to “put [the victim] to sleep” so she could not call 911. The female suspect said Wims tried to choke her with the clothing while the second male suspect used his arm around her neck. She said she left the room during the choking because “she was bothered by the victim’s choking sounds as she struggled to breathe.”
After the robbery, the suspect told police they went to a gas station, a pawnshop to pawn the ring and Macy’s in an attempt to buy clothing. Wims was captured on surveillance video.
Shortly after Wims was arrested, police listened to recorded phone calls he made from jail. In one conversation with a woman, Wims talked about the surveillance images shown on television and asked her if they looked like him. The woman responded: “… That is you.”
In a later call, Wims allegedly said, “That’s all they got me for is the fraud.”
Both remain held in the Ramsey County jail.
Anyone with information can call 651-767-0640, 911 or send an anonymous message tip by texting “Maplewood” and the information to TIP 411.