Crime blotter: repeat customer

On November 30th, at approximately 5:40 p.m., police officers were summoned to investigate a robbery at the Blink Bonnie sandwich shop on E. 7th Street in downtown St. Paul. The clerk told responding officers that a black male wearing a camouflage jacket with black sleeves and a black stocking cap had just robbed the place. According to court records, the perpetrator stated that he had a gun and demanded all the money from the register. He made off with less than $100.

Roughly seven weeks later, on January 18th, the sandwich shop was robbed again. The details were almost identical. At approximately 5:40 p.m., a black male wearing a camouflage jacket with black sleeves entered the store claiming to have a gun and escaped with under $100.

Two days later the Blink Bonnie bandit hit again. This time he entered the store just before 8 p.m., according to court records, but was wearing the same camouflage jacket as in the previous two heists. The take once again was less than a sawbuck. This time the store manager noticed that the robber had the word "love" tattooed across the fingers of his left hand.

Less than 24 hours later, St. Paul police officers picked up a man matching the description of the serial robber at the intersection of E. 10th and Robert streets. Wardell Williams Smith was allegedly dressed in a camouflage jacket with black sleeves and a black stocking cap. In addition, the 33-year-old had the word "love" tattooed on the fingers of his left hand and a plastic toy gun in his jacket pocket. According to a criminal complaint subsequently filed in Ramsey County District Court, a security videotape recorded at Blink Bonnie shows Smith committing the pair of January robberies.

"Even when confronted with evidence, he denied everything," says police spokesman Pete Crum. "He has a criminal history and did not appear to be overly concerned when he was being questioned about it."

Smith is currently incarcerated in the Ramsey County Jail, charged with second degree aggravated robbery. If convicted he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. According to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension records, Smith has two previous criminal convictions in the state, for assault and carrying a weapon without a permit.