According to court charges, a 22-year-old St. Paul man who was waiting as his partner attempted to steal a catalytic converter off a pickup vehicle shot a guy who disrupted the attempted robbery.
In connection with the Feb. 21 incident at a shop in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park area, Kaw Bleh Htoo was charged Thursday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree assault-dangerous weapon-substantial bodily injury and two charges of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery.
Eh Ler Pweh, 18, of St. Paul, was charged with four felonies three days after the shooting, including two charges of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery and one count each of having a handgun with a changed serial number and receiving stolen goods.
A gunshot and attempted theft were reported at the company at 2350 Territorial Road at 3:40 p.m. on Feb. 21. Officers talked with a 51-year-old guy who was being placed into an ambulance after being shot in the buttocks.
He told authorities he was inside his workplace when he noticed a black automobile parked next to a Toyota Tundra pickup truck driven by a coworker. He claims the parking lot is peaceful, but he claims there have been catalytic converter thefts in the past.
He claimed he went to the parking lot to check and observed someone in the car’s driver’s seat and beneath the truck. He claimed he heard a sawing noise and saw legs coming out, so he stepped on one of them and shouted, “Stop that!” according to the lawsuit.
He said he heard a gunshot before realizing he had been shot. He collapsed and crawled back to his workplace, where coworkers assisted him until police came.
According to authorities, surveillance video from the company shows the occurrence exactly as the man recounted it. The video shows the two suspects fleeing the scene in a vehicle while the injured guy lies in the parking lot.
Officers on patrol along Rice and Front streets saw a car that matched the Scion two days later. On Sylvan Street, it ran a red light and smashed into a snowbank. Three guys took to the streets on foot.
Officers pursued and apprehended Pweh, the driver, and three other men. In the area where Pweh was apprehended, a black 9mm semi-automatic pistol was discovered. The magazine for the gun was missing, and the serial number had been wiped out.
On February 2, the automobile was reported stolen from Forest Street in St. Paul.
Pweh stated he bought the rifle approximately a month ago and that the serial number had already been wiped out when he was interrogated. According to the complaint, he acknowledged to attempting to take the catalytic converter but refused to tell detectives who shot the guy. Pweh said that he was aware that the automobile had been stolen.
According to the lawsuit, investigators acquired a search warrant for Pweh’s cell phone, which revealed text exchanges between him and Htoo that mentioned “cutting.” At the time of the incident, Htoo’s mobile phone was also tracked back to the shop.
According to the complaint, during a prison contact with Pweh, Htoo commended him for not providing police any information.
Htoo was apprehended at a home on Bush Avenue in St. Paul on Wednesday. He was wanted in Dakota County on a warrant.
Htoo originally denied involvement in the shooting in an interview with police. When confronted with proof, he claimed he was the shooter and inquired how long he had been staring at it, according to the complaint. He said it was an accident and that he was afraid of the victim, who was larger and kicking Pweh beneath the car.
The victim of the shooting had a shattered pelvis and will be unable to walk for at least six weeks, according to investigators.