Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Police in St. Paul are trying to find the man who forced grocery shoppers to drive him to cash machines.
The victims were forced into their vehicles at gunpoint at the Kowalski’s Market on Grand Avenue and Ayd Mill Road, with the most recent robbery occurred Saturday night.
Kowalski’s shopper Carl Dehnert says these crimes are unsettling.
“I see these people out here every day. I know everybody, the same people. It would shock me that it would happen here,” Dehnert said.
But in the past two weeks, this market has been a hot spot for robberies. Two people were forced to look down the barrel of a gun and give up their cash by a man who approached them in the store’s upper parking lot.
St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos says the criminal gave his victims the same brief instructions.
“He just points a gun at them and says, ‘Be real careful. Get in the passenger’s seat of the car,’” Paulos said.
Both attacks happened at night, between 10 p.m. and midnight.
St. Paul police say the man pushed his victims against the vehicle, made them get inside and slide over to the driver’s side to drive to an ATM.
“So far we’ve been very lucky,” Paulos said.
There have been no injuries caused during these armed robberies, but the suspect has gotten away with several hundreds of dollars in cash. And some shoppers say their sense of security has been shattered.
Police are concerned that if someone refuses his demands, his actions could escalate – which is why they are seeking the public’s help to find him.
The suspect is described as a black male, 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, and weighs between 190 to 205 pounds. He has a medium to muscular build and is clean shaven.
Sgt. Paulos also says the suspect’s victims describe him as “soft spoken.”
Investigators hope video from surveillance cameras will give them a better description of the suspect, and they hope to release the images to the public soon.
Call St. Paul Police at (651) 291-1111 if you have any information.