State Rep. Dennis J. Smith was robbed at gunpoint Thursday night outside a Grand Avenue restaurant. His cellphone, wallet and mementos from his late father were stolen.
Smith, a Republican from Maple Grove, was not injured.
"My father passed away last year, and I had some mementos of my father's that I carry with me every day," Smith said Friday. "Those things are more important to me than the money and credit cards that I lost."
Smith declined to say what the mementos were, but he said he kept them in his wallet.
The robbery occurred about 10:40 p.m. on Milton Street near Grand Avenue, after Smith left Salut Bar Americain. Smith was the chief House sponsor of a bill to bring Minnesota into compliance with federal Real ID standards; Gov. Mark Dayton signed that bill on Thursday.
Smith said he had just finished a celebratory dinner with a few other representatives when he was robbed.
According to a police report and St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders: Smith was using his phone and walking northbound on the east side of Milton Street. He was north of Grand Avenue when a man approached him and pointed a gun.
The robber demanded Smith's wallet and cellphone. Smith complied.
"Whenever a loaded gun is pointed at you in a hostile manner, the images that go through the mind are … the people in your life that you love," Smith said. "You think about what would happen if the person were to shoot at you. These are all concerning thoughts, scary."
The robber fled westbound across Milton Street into an alley. Smith ran back to Salut, where police were called.
Linders said there have been no other similar robberies in the area recently.
Smith said he was looking down at his phone when he was approached.
"I think it's a reminder for all of us that we need to be aware of our surroundings," he said.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708