Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-17-15210
Ellison, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael
O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Jonathan P. Schmidt,
Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Julie
Loftus Nelson, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Larkin,
Judge; and Smith, Tracy M., Judge.
phrase "carrying away" in Minnesota's
simple-robbery statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.24 (2016),
means the act of moving personal property from the location
of the taking.
challenges her conviction of simple robbery, arguing that the
evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction. We
State of Minnesota charged appellant Savonte Maurice Townsend
with one count of simple robbery. The case was tried to the
evidence at trial showed that on May 25, 2017, Townsend went
to Trader Joe's in St. Louis Park, which is a business
that includes a grocery store and a wine shop. W.S., a Trader
Joe's employee in the wine shop, observed Townsend and
another woman put bottles of liquor in their handbags. Based
on this behavior, W.S. assumed that the women were
shoplifting. As the women moved toward the common hallway
between the Trader Joe's grocery store and wine shop with
the liquor bottles, W.S. began to ask, "[A]re you going
to pay for that?" Townsend said, "Run!" and
the other woman ran into the hallway. W.S. grabbed the back
of Townsend's blouse as she ran past him and into the
hallway. Once Townsend was in the hallway, W.S. grabbed
Townsend's handbag, which caused her to stop.
held Townsend against a wall in the hallway with his forearm
and attempted to take her handbag. W.S. testified that
Townsend said, "I'm going to bite you, I'm going
to bite you." Next, Townsend tried to bite W.S.'s
arm. In response, W.S. let go of Townsend. At some point
during the struggle, a bottle of liquor fell out of
Townsend's handbag and broke on the floor. Townsend tried
to leave but slipped and fell on the wet floor, at which
point W.S. grabbed Townsend's handbag again. W.S.
testified that at that point, he believed there were three
bottles of liquor remaining in Townsend's bag.
physical struggle ensued between W.S. and Townsend as they
moved out of the hallway and onto the sidewalk outside of
Trader Joe's. Townsend yelled at W.S. to let her go, and
W.S. responded, "Give me the booze first." W.S.
testified that he took the remaining liquor bottles out of
Townsend's bag and then released her. Townsend ran to a
car and drove away.
trial, Townsend admitted that she went to Trader Joe's to
steal alcohol. Townsend testified that she took only one
bottle of liquor from the wine shop and then walked out of
the shop. Townsend also testified that she did not know W.S.