Three charged in $16,000 purse-snatching
Three suspects, including a 17-year-old, have been charged in a strong-arm robbery last month at Apache Mall.
Bakil Nuh Dahir, 21, has been charged with one count each of first-degree aggravated robbery, simple robbery and theft, all felonies. He remains in custody in lieu of $10,000 conditional bail, and is due back in Olmsted County District Court on April 29.
Abdirisak Aden Affey, 18, faces one count each of felony first-degree aggravated robbery and misdemeanor theft. He's been released on $10,000 conditional bail, and is due back in court June 9.
The charges stem from an incident at about 9 p.m. March 18, when officers responded to Macy's Department Store at Apache Mall. A 52-year-old woman said she was shopping when one of the suspects — later identified as the 17-year-old — approached her and pushed her while grabbing the Louis Vuitton purse off her shoulder.
The victim tried to hang on to the purse, the report says, but the teenager pushed her down, then ran out the east door of the store, followed by the woman's son. Another man — later identified as Dahir — was nearby, and asked the woman in Arabic, "what happened?" He then left the store.
According to the complaint, the victim told police she believed the men had followed her there from another store. Her purse contained a $4,000 gold and diamond ring she'd purchased that day; $1,000 gold and diamond earrings, $1,000 in cash, two watches worth a total of $9,000 and two credit cards. The purse itself is valued at more than $1,000.
Security footage from the mall showed the suspects exit a van and walk into Macy's, then follow the woman and her son around the store. The van driver — later identified as Affey — parked at the curb with the vehicle's hazard lights on. The two suspects eventually both got back into the van, which drove away.
The purse was recovered at about 6 p.m. the next day in the parking lot of the Rochester STEM Academy on 16th Street Southwest. The man who found the purse told police he'd seen two men in the parking area the night before, removing the license plates from a van. He gave a thorough description of the suspects and vehicle, the report says.
Later that evening, an officer on patrol found a van that matched the description parked in the 2900 block of Charles Court Northwest. Further investigation revealed that the van had been stopped the night before — the night of the robbery, about 30 minutes after it had occurred — for a traffic matter. Affey was identified as the driver during the traffic stop; he was arrested at the Charles Court residence.
According to the complaint, Affey admitted he drove the van before and after the robbery, and also provided the name of the juvenile and Dahir. Affey took the ring to a local jeweler the next day to learn its value, he said.
Dahir allegedly admitted to being at the mall with the younger men, but said Affey and the juvenile had the purse and told him "not to worry about it."
The 17-year-old, who is seen on the surveillance video cradling something in his left arm after the robbery but before leaving the mall, told an investigator "what happened was a mistake." He admitted to taking the purse, the report says, and taking "like $200" from it.
The teenager said he didn't know what happened to the jewelry.
The aggravated robbery charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, a $35,000 fine, or both.
Dahir's robbery and theft charges are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both.