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Man arrested in connection with Hastings robberies

St. Paul police arrested Simon James Hanson, 28, of Forest Lake, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, after he robbed the Corner Gas, 304 E. Larpenteur Ave., and the CVS Pharmacy, 180 E. Maryland, in St. Paul, both at knife-point.

The arrest was the result of crime alerts and media coverage of two Hastings robberies that also occurred at knife-point, one at the Hastings Tobacco Store along Market Boulevard and the Freedom gas station at Vermillion and 17th streets. In both Hastings cases, the robberies resulted in a loss of cash but no injuries.

St. Paul police noted the similarities between the St. Paul and Hastings robberies. Hastings police investigators interviewed the suspect in Ramsey County on Thursday, Feb. 27, and obtained a confession along with other corroborating evidence that established his involvement in the Hastings robberies.

A formal criminal complaint was expected to be filed today, Friday, Feb. 28, in Dakota County. Hanson has been charged by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office with first-degree aggravated robbery, attempted robbery and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle for the incidents committed in Ramsey County.

The Hastings Police Department thanked the St. Paul Police Department and the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with the investigation.