A Woodbury man with no apparent criminal record was taken into custody Friday afternoon after allegedly walking up three floors armed with an AR-style rifle through the Mall of America to rob a hat shop of jerseys.
Cartier Troy Alexander, 28, is also suspected in the robbery of a pawn shop in Minneapolis earlier in the day.
Crime Watch first reported just after noon on Friday, Aug. 26, that mall security had reported an armed male entered the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., after it was aired over police scanner audio.
Further audio indicated that mall security stated the male was armed with a rifle and had entered the mall in the south central area. The dispatches indicated that the male didn’t appear to be acting in a threatening manner and that security was closely watching his movements.
The male was then reported to enter a “Lids” store, which is a hat and logo apparel shop with several stores located inside the mall.
Shortly thereafter, dispatch audio indicated that “mall security took him down outside of Lids.” Police aired that the suspect had set the gun on the counter and demanded jerseys from an employee.
Police located an orange Corvette in a mall parking garage reported at the time to belong to the suspect which also contained guns, according to dispatch audio.
Following the incident, a copy of a memo allegedly sent by Mall of America to tenants was posted online confirming that an armed robbery had taken place.
Bloomington police later released a statement confirming the robbery and stated that Alexander had been arrested.
The BPD statement also said Alexander was suspected in an earlier pawn shop robbery in Minneapolis, which matched the description of a robbery Crime Watch reported on the 1500 block of East Lake Street just after 11:30 a.m.
Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges later gave a press conference detailing the series of events and the eventual detainment of Alexander after he was “tackled” by a mall security team when he exited the Lids store.
Chief Hodges said Alexander has a valid permit to carry a firearm and no criminal history. Hodges was at a loss to explain Alexander’s possible motives.
Chief Hodges said a bystander in the mall called mall security directly to report the armed man after he’d walked past several people who apparently didn’t notice that he was walking with a gun slung at his side.
Chief Hodges said mall security was able to determine that Alexander had stopped at a kiosk on the way into the mall and taken a stuffed animal without paying for it. It was at that point, he said, that security’s suspicions of the man’s intentions were raised further.
Chief Hodges said mall security works seamlessly with Bloomington police dispatch so they were able to coordinate a reaction team and closely monitor the man’s movements.
Upon questioning, Chief Hodges explained that a lockdown wasn’t aired over loudspeakers because they didn’t want to cause a panic with people running or “escalate” the situation when the suspect wasn’t acting in a threatening manner. The chief said security was closely monitoring the male’s movements as he walked “nonchalantly” through the mall.
The chief said mall security was working diligently to get operatives in place to react immediately if necessary.
Hodges said five years ago the suspect probably would have been shot, but on Friday they were able to “flawlessly” take him into custody with no one being hurt, including police, security and citizens.
Hodges said the vehicle Alexander arrived in was towed, and investigators were in the process of obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle.
Just three weeks ago, the mall was placed on lockdown after a 21-year-old with a history of weapons offenses fired several rounds at a group of people inside a Nike store.
Alpha News will continue to follow developments in this story.
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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.