Albert Lea man charged in gas station knifepoint robbery

Published 6:09 pm Friday, July 24, 2015

Police file warrant for accomplice

Two Albert Lea men are accused of robbing the Freedom Value Center gas station in Austin at knifepoint on July 21.

Charles Morris, 19, of Albert Lea was charged Friday with aggravated robbery. Austin police filed a warrant for his alleged partner, Davion Smith.

According to a court complaint, the robbers hit the gas station, located at 101 Fourth St. NW, at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. One of the robbers, allegedly Morris, grabbed the clerk from behind and threatened to cut her with a knife if she moved. The other robber, allegedly Smith, forced the clerk to put money inside a bag before the two left.

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Witnesses told police the two men came out of a red Pontiac, which drove around the area at the time of the robbery and sped north on Fifth Street Northwest after the crime.

Police found several items in the parking log of nearby Integrity Realty, including a Brick Furniture card addressed to Smith and his girlfriend. In addition, the clerk identified Smith from his voice, according to the complaint.

A Brick Furniture salesperson in Albert Lea positively identified Smith, who had visited the store several days before the robbery, from police photos.

Morris was arrested in Albert Lea Wednesday and told police he was with his girlfriend in Rochester on July 20. He said he and his girlfriend stopped in Austin on their way home so he could use the gas station bathroom, but he denied robbing the store or spending time with Smith for the past month.

Morris’s girlfriend later told police she, Morris, Smith and his girlfriend had hung out at Smith’s girlfriend’s apartment that night before Smith and Morris left to “hang out.” She told police she didn’t know why Morris would claim he hadn’t seen Smith in a month.

Morris’s next court appearance is Aug. 6.