A St. Paul man suspected in the violent home invasion robbery of a 75-year-old woman was charged Wednesday with using credit cards belonging to the woman and a second victim.
Deandre V. Wims, 25, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of financial transaction card fraud.
Authorities believe he obtained the credit cards in the Jan. 2 robbery of the Maplewood woman who was bound and then choked into unconsciousness, and the December burglary of a different, unoccupied home. Both townhomes are in the 1700 block of Gervais Avenue.
Wims and a second man allegedly used the woman’s credit card about an hour and 40 minutes after police arrived at her home to investigate the incident.
According to the criminal complaint: Wims and a second man were captured by surveillance video on Dec. 27 at Macy’s in the Maplewood Mall. The men tried to charge $254.60 worth of clothing on a credit card taken from the December burglary.
On Dec. 28, surveillance video from the Discount Liquor store in Maplewood showed someone matching Wims’ description trying to use a credit card from the December burglary. The transaction was declined, and the man took out cash to make his purchase.
Wims and the same man from the Macy’s incident were again captured by surveillance video at the same store on Jan. 2. This time, the complaint said, they used the woman’s credit card to buy $231.27 worth of clothing.
All three surveillance videos showed Wims using the stolen cards, according to the complaint. The credit card stolen in December was also used on Dec. 27 at the Gas Hopper Station in North St. Paul, Burlington Coat Factory and McDonald’s.
Wims was arrested Jan. 5. The criminal complaint does not say what role he may have played in the home invasion robbery.
Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell said Wednesday that authorities have obtained information about the other two suspects, and are actively looking for them.
The woman told police that on Jan. 2, a young woman rang her doorbell, asked to use the phone and then brandished a handgun and forced her way inside when her request was denied.
The female intruder placed a call on her cellphone, and two male suspects soon arrived inside the home. The men ripped telephone cords from the walls.
One of the men bound the woman’s hands while his two accomplices ransacked the home, taking jewelry, credit cards, keys and the woman’s driver’s license.
One of the men then ordered the victim onto the floor, placed clothing around her neck and choked her until she was unconscious. The woman regained consciousness and sought help at a neighbor’s home.
Police are also investigating the suspects’ possible connection to the late-December burglary of a nearby home.
Anyone with information can call 651-767-0640, 911 or send an anonymous text message tip by texting “Maplewood” and the information to TIP 411.