Robbery attempt outside Northtown Mall leads to charges

An 18-year-old man is facing two felony charges for alleging arranging a robbery of a man trying to sell a cell phone through Craigslist.

Mohamed Abdirahman Hassan, of Columbia Heights, was arraigned April 10 in Anoka County District Court on two felony charges of aiding or abetting an attempted robbery and simple robbery, both in the second-degree.

According to the criminal complaint, an 18-year-old man arranged to meet with a man named Mohamed at Herberger’s in Northtown Mall in Blaine to sell his iPhone.

When the man arrived the evening of April 8, he allegedly got a call from Mohamed and was asked to meet in the parking lot by Burlington Coat Factory because Mohamed could not leave his grandmother in the car.

He met with a man next to a silver van and handed over his phone. When he attempted to take it back, this other man put him in a choke-hold and threw him on the ground. The victim later told police that three people were kicking him and he got hit in the head, but he said he was able to hold onto his cell phone, according to the complaint.

A witness who spotted the crime flashed their headlights at the group and they fled in the silver van. The witness called police around 9:15 p.m. April 8.

A vehicle matching the description was stopped by police near Northtown Mall. Hassan was identified as the driver and there were four passengers, according to the complaint.

Police brought the suspects to the victim and he positively identified them. In a post-Miranda statement, Hassan gave police his cell phone number, which matched the number that had called the victim prior to the attempted robbery.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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