Man robbed Roseville Cub Foods shoppers of everything but their Father's Day pie
Police say this surveillance still shows Armstrong posing as a cart retriever shortly before he robbed a couple in the parking lot.
Jason Armstrong, a 42-year-old St. Paul resident, has been charged with aggravated robbery and kidnapping for allegedly hopping in a couple's car after they got done shopping at the Roseville Cub Foods last month and heisting everything but their Father's Day pie.
Authorities say Armstrong is also under investigation for possible involvement in two June robberies at the Kowalski's on Grand Avenue that were carried out in a similar manner. (Read our post about those robberies here.)
A Star Tribune report, citing the criminal complaint, explains what happened to the Cub Foods couple (authorities describe them as "older"):
Late at night on June 14, a couple loaded their groceries and got in their SUV outside the Roseville Cub Foods. Armstrong got in the back seat, and put a .45-caliber pistol to the head of the woman in the passenger seat.
Armstrong told the man to drive to an ATM, demanding that they use their credit cards to withdraw cash. The victims said they didn't know their personal identification numbers and could not access the ATM.
The man then was ordered to turn over his wallet, which he did -- but not before pulling out several hundred dollars without the gunman noticing. He then gave Armstrong his wallet, credit cards, driver's license, and $25.
The gunman ordered the couple to drive him to the area of Snelling and Thomas Avenue in St. Paul. As they drove along, "the couple spoke to the man about God's plan, and he seemed to calm down," the complaint read.
When they stopped, Armstrong asked for the couple's groceries. The woman said fine, but she wanted to keep the pie crust and strawberries so she could make a pie for Father's Day.
Armstrong took all of the groceries from the back of the SUV but granted the woman's request to leave behind the strawberries and pie crust before fleeing on foot.
The couple provided a detailed description of the suspect to police, who then used surveillance footage from a nearby gas station, the Metro Transit bus the suspect rode to Roseville, and the Cub Foods store (including the still at the top of this post) to identify Armstrong, who was apparently posing as a parking lot cart retriever before the robbery.
Armstrong was arrested in connection with a burglary on the 1200 block of James Avenue in St. Paul on July 3. When questioned by police about the Cub Foods incident, he denied being the man shown in the surveillance footage, even though the shirt and vest the suspect was seen wearing in the parking lot were found at his apartment.
"If you say it's me, then it's me, but it's not me," Armstrong told police, according to a Pioneer Press report.
Armstrong hasn't yet been charged in connection with the Kowalski's incidents, but he already faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the aggravated robbery and kidnapping charges.
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