by April Scheinoha
A Cass Lake man was sentenced Monday, March 21 in Pennington County District Court for robbing a Thief River Falls convenience store while armed with a machete.
Judge Tamara Yon sentenced Adrian Daniel Staples, 38, to 84 months in prison for a felony charge of aggravated robbery. He was given credit for 258 days served. Staples was ordered to provide a DNA sample. He was ordered to pay $210 in fees and fines. The right to restitution has been reserved for 30 days. As part of a plea agreement, a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm was dismissed.
Staples robbed Pennington Square on July 7. Following the robbery, he fled on a foot. An undisclosed amount of cash and as many as nine packs of cigarettes were stolen. About three hours after the robbery, Staples posted a photo of Marlboro Black cigarettes and a black wallet containing a large amount of cash on Facebook.
Staples was arrested about seven-and-a-half hours after the robbery. While responding to investigate the crime, a sheriff’s investigator saw him biking along First Street. At the time of his arrest, Staples possessed a .177-caliber Colt Commander pistol. He also had $373 in cash in his wallet.
Clothing and cigarettes were confiscated as part of a search warrant at Staples’ apartment, 416 First St. E. #5. The machete was found in a neighbor’s apartment in the same building. Staples’ roommate told police that Staples said he had taken the machete from the apartment and later returned it.
During his plea hearing in February, Staples testified that he discussed robbing Pennington Square with then-employee Sigwald Remme prior to the robbery. Staples said Remme told him that he leaves the cash register open while working. He testified Remme didn’t try to persuade him to not rob Pennington Square. Staples said that Remme saw him before the robbery and knew he was the robber.
Remme was working that evening with another employee who knew nothing about the planned robbery.
In a court order, Judge Jeffrey Remick wrote that Remme told a police investigator that Staples asked him to help rob Pennington Square a few days before the robbery. Remme declined. Before the robbery, Remme said he stepped out of the convenience store and saw Staples looking into a window. He said Staples soon entered the store with a machete.
Steve Moeller, assistant Pennington County attorney, didn’t return a phone message from The Times regarding whether Remme will be charged.
Earlier, Judge Jeffrey Remick denied a defense motion to suppress evidence in the case. Staples’ attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Collins, argued that a search warrant, inventory return and evidence weren’t properly filed with the court. Remick noted that a clerical error made by a police officer was an insufficient reason to suppress the evidence. The inventory list noted the items were found in Apartment 3 even though nothing was found there and the items were found in Apartment 5. It was initially thought that Staples lived in Apartment 3. Search warrants were executed for both apartments.
Remick also denied a defense motion to dismiss both charges for a lack of probable cause. Collins argued that Staples’ gun was inoperable and the charge should be dismissed. Remick found it was irrelevant whether the state proved the gun was inoperable. With regard to the other charge, Remick found there was probable cause.