[UPDATE, March 29, 2022: Authorities dropped charges against the 18-year-old earlier accused in this case. What follows is the story as originally written, with the individual’s name removed.]
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — An 18-year-old faces charges after allegedly attempting to snatch a grandmother’s purse at a St. Paul Walgreens, leaving the woman with brain bleeding, a concussion and a broken pelvis after the robbery.READ MORE: State Patrol Seeks Driver Who Hit 2 Tow Truck Operators On I-35
The teen is charged with first-degree aggravated attempted robbery and third-degree assault, according to court documents filed in Ramsey County Thursday.
The teen’s mother called police to turn him in after seeing surveillance video of the incident.
According to a criminal complaint, an 81-year-old woman was entering a Walgreens on Larpenteur Avenue Dec. 23 when someone pulled her purse. The purse’s loop was on her shoulder, so she fell to the ground. She said the next thing she remembered was waking up in the back of an ambulance. She said nothing was taken from her.
The jarring video of the purse-snatching spread quickly Wednesday. Stuthman recognizes why it struck such a chord.
“Hate to admit it when you hear you’re elderly, but then I look at myself in that video walking and see yes, I am elderly,” she said.
Support in the form of emails and phone calls has been constant since WCCO’s story aired, but one call in particular from police stands out.
“I was really, really pleased to learn that they had him,” Stuthman said.
Stuthman, while in the hospital, fell and broke her pelvis due to dizziness from the injuries, according to the complaint. She needed surgery for that injury.
“The actions of this young person caused significant trauma and injury to an elderly resident and spread fear throughout our community,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said. “I want to thank investigators for their work on this case and the mother of the young offender for doing the right thing by turning her son into authorities.”READ MORE: Buffalo Clinic Shooting: Gregory Ulrich's Trial Starts Monday
The complaint states officers reviewed surveillance footage that showed the suspect, wearing white jeans, a black jacket, blue medical mask and brown shoes, fleeing the scene after the robbery.
The teen’s mother called police on Wednesday after a family member showed her video of the incident and she recognized her son’s coat and face, the complaint states. She said the teen’s grandmother bought and gave him that coat, and said she was “100% sure” it was him.
“She does not trust police officers but wanted to do the right thing,” the complaint said. “She prayed about it, and turned her son in. She loves her son but did not raise him like that.”
The teen was arrested Tuesday in connection with a carjacking in St. Paul, with a coat matching the one seen on video. Police said he and two others carjacked a woman in an alley behind her St. Paul home Tuesday morning. The mother had to quickly pull her 3-year-old child out of their SUV before it was stolen.
WCCO was able to talk with the husband of the carjacking victim. He said his family would like privacy at the moment, but that they’re thankful for the work of law enforcement in catching the suspects. He also called his wife a hero for rescuing their child from the SUV before it was stolen.
Stuthman says she’s grateful for the teen’s mother’s decision, but she also sympathized with her.
“I think it would have been the most difficult thing in the world,” she said. “I am sure that the mother realizes this might be his best chance for turning his life around and that is my hope.”
A similar, but unconnected, incident occurred across town Dec. 22. Angela Ferguson, 85, was in the Aldi parking lot on West Seventh Street when two men wrestled away her purse. She suffered a concussion and severe bruising, as well as a stress-induced heart attack.MORE NEWS: Driver Fleeing Police Kills 1, Seriously Hurts Another In Brooklyn Park Crash