Law enforcement officials have arrested a 16-year-old following an armed carjacking and several robberies that took place in busy shopping and dining areas in Woodbury and Oakdale over a 45-minute period Monday night.
The suspect, who was driving a BMW X1, was apprehended in Hennepin County and is believed to be wanted for similar incidents across the metro, said Woodbury police spokesman John Altman.
The teen suspect could be charged at any time, Altman said. But police are still looking for others who participated in Monday's crime spree, he added.
Events began about 8:15 p.m. when two vehicles surrounded a blue Jaguar in the parking lot of a Target store in the Woodbury Village shopping area in the 7200 block of Valley Creek Road. The suspects produced a handgun and ordered the driver out of the car. The suspect and accomplices left in three cars, Altman said.
The victim made it inside the Target unhurt and got help, he said.
By 9 p.m., police had also responded to a call about a stolen Honda Accord taken from the area of 2030 Eagle Creek Lane while the owner was inside a store and left the car running. Law enforcement also were called to an armed robbery outside a nearby Chick-fil-A where suspects made off with a woman's purse and phone, and an attempted armed robbery at a Hy-Vee store in Oakdale.
Woodbury police in concert with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota State Patrol, and Minneapolis Police Department recovered the Jaguar later Monday. The Honda has not been found.
Police said there were no witnesses to any of the incidents, and victims were unable to provide a good description of the suspects.
"They were dressed like ninjas and wearing masks," Altman said. It was dark and the victims "were caught off guard,"
Aimee Mayhew was in Oakdale and Woodbury around the time the crimes were committed and said the rise in crime is scary.
"It's to the point that I want to move back up north again," she said. "I'm always aware of my surroundings. It's an absolute must no matter what the situation is. I have talked to my children and their friends about being aware of their surroundings."
Mayhew said she wants to renew her permit to carry a gun.
"I will feel better when I'm out with my children or just myself to be carrying again," she said.
Woodbury police issued a crime alert asking people to "be keenly aware of their surroundings."
The east metro suburb saw a spike in car thefts over the summer, but those "were nonconfrontational," Altman said. Many resulted from residents or food delivery drivers leaving keys in the car.
But Monday's thefts are "a new level of boldness," Altman said.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768