MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Department of Corrections (DOC) fugitive was charged Friday with first-degree aggravated robbery, second-degree assault and fleeing police in a motor vehicle after a crime spree Thursday night in the Twin Cities.
According to Minneapolis Police, 39-year-old Brandon Stark approached four people with a knife late Thursday night in Minneapolis. The crime spree ended with Stark crashing a stolen car in St. Paul during a police chase.
Stark was wanted for a parole violation and had a warrant issued for his arrest after he forced someone by knifepoint to drive him from Foley to Minneapolis Wednesday.
His victim eventually dropped him off near 16th Avenue Northeast and California Street Northeast in Minneapolis.
Shortly before 9 p.m. on Thursday, Stark approached his first victim in Minneapolis – a woman who was out on a walk near 2nd Street Northeast and 17th Avenue Northeast. He forced her by knifepoint to take her to her car, which was parked near 302 13th Ave NE.
As they approached the car, the women threw her keys at Stark and ran into a nearby business. A man inside the business came out to confront Stark, who fled by foot to 3rd Street Northeast and 12th Avenue Northeast.
Stark then successfully carjacked a woman in an SUV near that location. She was able to escape with her car keys after convincing Stark to let her get gas at the Holiday Superstore at East 46th Street and Hiawatha Avenue.
Stark then tried to steal another car at the Holiday station, but was confronted by the owner. After threatening to kill the owner with his knife, Stark climbed through the open window of a car entering the gas station
That car’s driver and the store’s owner then tried to fight Stark, but he was able to steal the man’s vehicle and headed east towards St. Paul on 46th Street.
A Minneapolis Police officer gave chase to Stark as he crossed the Ford Bridge, and Stark soon crashed the stolen vehicle into four parked cars in the 1900 block of Ford Parkway in St. Paul.
Stark was arrested just before 9:30 p.m.
Dereje Badada was visiting a friend’s apartment on Ford Parkway, and his car was one of those struck by Stark.
“A lot of noise, a lot of police, so we just came outside,” Badada said. “I don’t even believe it’s my car because I just park it here and I always park here.”
Krystal Bell lives near the crash site, and says she’s thankful Stark’s spree didn’t go further.
“I have a four-year-old daughter, so I’m very glad it stopped here and there wasn’t anything further that happened at that point,” Bell said.
Minneapolis Police Commander Catherine Johnson says Stark’s crime spree is unusual for the Twin Cities.
“Pretty rare,” Johnson said. “It’s not a very common occurrence.”
Stark was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for his injuries, and is currently being held at the Hennepin County jail.
He was just released from prison on May 6 for burglary, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. He was supposed to be on supervised release.