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ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Forest Lake man faces charges of armed robbery and fleeing police after a cell phone he dropped led to his identification and arrest.

Police say 28-year-old Simon James Hanson attempted to rob two Ramsey County businesses late the night of February 24.

Squads were called to Corner Gas at 306 Larpenteur shortly after 11:30 p.m. on reports of an attempted robbery. The clerk told officers a man walked into the store and pulled a large butcher knife from the pocket of his jacket and demanded that he open the register. The clerk managed to hit the silent alarm button behind the counter, and when he told the robber that police were on the way he sprinted from the store.

A short time later police were dispatched to the CVS Pharmacy at 810 Maryland Avenue East. There, a man had walked behind the pharmacy counter, pulled a large knife and demanded that she open the register. While she was doing it a store customer jumped on the counter and kicked the robber in the face. During the ensuing struggle the suspect dropped the knife, and lost both his red jacket and a shoe.

Witnesses report seeing the man running westbound on Rose Avenue.

While officers were investigating the incident they were informed that an employee had discovered a cell phone behind the counter where the struggle between the suspect and the customer took place. An investigator went to collect the phone and while it was in his possession the phone rang. The caller was the suspect, Simon Hanson, who said he wanted to get his phone back. The officer did not tell Hanson he was with law enforcement and arranged at meeting at a local Cub Foods.

When Hanson drove up into the Cub lot squads moved in with lights and sirens activated. The suspect immediately took off in his vehicle, leading police on a chase through the east metro that reached 80 miles-per-hour. Eventually he pulled over and was taken into custody.

At the time of his arrest Hanson was wanted on a felony warrant for trying to use a forged check and counterfeiting.

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