MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) — The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has charged seven teenage boys who allegedly stole a St. Paul man’s car with his 8-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter in the back seats.

A criminal complaint shows that the car owner’s family was about to go out to eat to celebrate their son’s 8th birthday on Sunday.

Instead, police say the father was “clotheslined” while adjusting his child’s car seat — leaving him with contusions and abrasions on his head, hands, face and leg. His wallet was stolen during the beating.

One of the suspects then drove the man’s van to the intersection of Sherburne Avenue and Virginia Street, before getting out of the car, getting into another vehicle, and leaving the scene.

St. Paul police officers later found the suspects at a Target store on University Avenue, in the process of using stolen credit cards to buy gift cards. The boys “had hoods pulled up over their heads,” as they unsuccessfully tried to make the purchase. When confronted, some of them ran from the police, but seven were eventually arrested.

Four of the boys are over the age of 16. Three are 15 years old.

The Audi Q7 and Toyota Corolla that the group had driven to the Target had also both been reported stolen in Minneapolis.

Witnesses later identified some of the boys as the suspects who had driven to the crime scene and assaulted the car owner. The man who was assaulted told police officers that he was able to identify one of the boys with “100% certainty.”

Each boy has been charged with one count of first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnapping.

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