Updated: 03/08/2013 5:06 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson
Two men have been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery after admitting they tried to steal copper wire from the Fridley Menards store and threatened employees with a buck knife.
According to the criminal complaint, Fridley officers were called to the store on the 5300 block of Central Avenue Northeast around 9:38 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, on a report of a robbery.
The employees said they tried to stop a man who was leaving the store with a cart full of merchandise. One of the loss-prevention employees tried to physically stop the man when a car sped up to the store near where they were struggling, according to the complaint. The suspect allegedly tried to get in the car when a second employee grabbed him.
The suspect then allegedly took out a knife and waved it at the employees before taking a spool of copper wire from the cart and jumping into the car.
The employee was able to get a picture of the car, the suspect, and the car’s license plate.
Officers were able to locate the car and say they saw a man running away from it in the parking lot. They arrested him and identified him as 21-year-old Russell James Hildebrand Jr. of Fridley. They also arrested the driver, who they identified as 26-year-old Jeffrey Louis Conley of Minneapolis.
Menards employees confirmed that they were the suspects, and Conley and Hildebrand admitted to the crime.
Conley and Hildebrand have each been charged with first degree aggravated robbery. If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in prison and up to $35,000 in fines.