Police: Knife-wielding robber kicked in face, leaves cellphone behind

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A suspect robbing a St. Paul CVS pharmacy was kicked in the face by an intervening customer and left behind valuable clues for investigators – including his cellphone.

It happened Monday just before midnight, according to the Pioneer Press. During the struggle with the customer, the suspect dropped his knife behind the counter, lost his jacket and his shoe. He also dropped his cellphone before getting away with $112 from the register.

According to the criminal complaint, the customer says he was picking up a prescription for his son when he saw the man, who he “had a feeling” was going to rob the store. That's when he decided to intervene. He jumped on the counter and kicked the suspect in the face.

After the suspect fled the CVS and police were filling out their reports, the suspect actually tried calling the cellphone he left behind. A quick-thinking officer answered and played along, agreeing to meet the suspect to return his phone. When the suspect arrived, police moved in, which led to a high speed chase, KARE 11 says.

The suspect, 28-year old Simon James Hanson of Forest Lake, eventually pulled over and was taken into custody. The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Hanson Wednesday with first-degree aggravated robbery, attempted robbery and fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle.

Police said this wasn’t the first attempted robbery of the night for Hanson. According to the criminal complaint, 20 minutes earlier and less than two miles away, the same officers were called to the scene of an attempted robbery at Corner Gas in St. Paul.

The Pioneer Press reports an employee said a man with a butcher knife demanded money, but the worker pushed a silent alarm and the would-be robber ran out of the store.

Surveillance videos from the gas station and CVS show it was the same suspect in both cases, according to the a criminal complaint published by the Pioneer Press.

At the time of his arrest, Hanson was wanted on a felony warrant for trying to use a forged check and counterfeiting. If Hanson is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a $17,500 fine, according to WCCO.

This isn’t the first time a cellphone has led to a would-be robber’s arrest. In recent years, there have been numerous reports of suspects who left behind clues leading to their arrest: In April 2013, a burglary suspect left his cellphone behind with his Facebook page open in North Dakota, a Texas woman dropped her phone while fleeing from a store robbery last October, and in Connecticut, a man dropped his cellphone on the sidewalk after robbing a bank.

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