MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 30-year-old Twin Cities man is accused of stealing a Walmart shopper’s keys from her walker last week, driving her car from the handicap space to her home, and rifling through her apartment.
Police found Joseph Smith, of St. Paul, hiding in the woman’s bathroom, court documents filed in Ramsey County say, adding that he is facing two charges of theft and one of burglary.
According to a criminal complaint, Smith swiped the woman’s keys on July 3 inside a Walmart on University Avenue in West St. Paul.
In the parking lot, he found her Chevy Equinox in a handicap parking space and drove off, taking another man with him.
The woman called police, fearing the men were going to rob her apartment, the complaint states.
When officers opened the door to her apartment on Como Avenue in St. Paul, they saw the accomplice standing by a window. They ordered him to put his hands up, at which point he jumped out the window.
Police found Smith hiding in the woman’s bathroom. He told officers that he had just met up with two men who asked for his help in their apartment, according to the complaint.
Surveillance video captured Smith stealing the keys at the Walmart, the complaint states. The red do-rag he was wearing matched one found in the woman’s apartment.
Also found in the woman’s apartment, which police described as “in disarray” with items pulled from drawers and thrown all over the floor, was a backpack containing a small box filled with coins. Also found was a sock that appeared altered to be used as a glove.
The woman told police the box and the coins belonged to her.
If convicted, Smith faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the burglary charge and 5 years in prison for each of the theft charges.
According to court documents, he has prior felony convictions for theft by swindle, domestic abuse and burglary.
It’s unclear if police arrested the accomplice, whom authorities say was captured on apartment’s surveillance system.