2 face over dozen charges in connection to Twin Cities robberies, thefts

Two St. Paul residents each face more than a dozen charges for several robberies, thefts and carjackings across the Twin Cities metro area.

Eighteen-year-old Kashawn Jason Wertman and 19-year-old Nautica Alaja Argue each face multiple charges of first-degree aggravated robbery, second-degree aggravated robbery and simple robbery, as well as a charge of theft. In total, Wertman faces 17 charges and Argue faces 14.

Authorities say additional charges are expected.

According to a criminal complaint, investigators began looking into a string of robberies, carjackings and thefts in the Twin Cities area that were linked by Wertman and Argue between Jan. 7 and Jan. 17.

On Jan. 18, Ramsey County deputies went to the 1700 block of Maryland Avenue in St. Paul to look for Wertman in connection to the crimes. Officers found Wertman and Argue in a stolen vehicle and attempted to stop them, the complaint states. However, they sped away and a pursuit began. The complaint states the pursuit went through several communities, into Minneapolis and then back into St. Paul before stopping. Authorities then arrested Wertman and Argue.

The following are some of the incidents they’re charged in connection to, according to the complaint:

  • On Jan. 7 at 12:10 p.m., a woman reported she was warming her Toyota Rav 4 in her driveway when she saw someone driving her vehicle away.
  • On Jan. 7 at 1:30 p.m., a man told police he was delivering food to a home in the 1800 block of Birch Street in White Bear Lake when someone pointed a gun at him through a jacket, grabbed the victim’s keys and stole his Jeep Grand Cherokee. The vehicle with the suspect was a Toyota Rav 4.
  • On Jan. 9, Roseville police found the stolen Toyota Rav 4 in a motel parking lot in Roseville. Hotel video showed two people going to a room rented using Wertman’s grandma’s credit card.
  • On Jan. 9 at 3:35 p.m., a woman told police she was at Wayzata East Middle School in Plymouth for her child’s basketball game when she went to her vehicle to get a water bottle. As she walked back toward the school, a man believed to be Wertman demanded her keys, got into her vehicle and drove off. Wertman was dropped off by a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
  • On Jan. 9 at 6:55 p.m., a woman stated she was in the parking lot of a grocery store in the 2300 block of Rice Street in Little Canada when a white SUV approached her, a passenger ripped her purse off the victim’s arm and then fled. The description of the passenger matched Argue. Later that night, the victim learned her credit card was used at a Lakeville gas station. Surveillance video showed Argue there in the Grand Cherokee.
  • On Jan. 9 at 7 p.m., Roseville police responded to reports of people in a Jeep Grand Cherokee assaulting and stealing from people as they walked to their vehicles.
  • On Jan. 10 at 11:11 a.m., a woman in St. Louis Park said she was walking to her vehicle when a man wearing a mask ripped her purse from her arm and demanded her keys. When told her keys were in the purse, the man pushed her to the ground and fled in the victim’s Range Rover. A Jeep Grand Cherokee was seen at the scene on surveillance video. The Range Rover was recovered on Jan. 18 in Eagan.
  • On Jan. 11 at 8:30 p.m., the Jeep Grand Cherokee was recovered at the apartment complex where Wertman’s girlfriend lives.
  • On Jan. 12 at 10:09 a.m., a woman told Richfield police two people described to be Wertman and Argue had their hands in pockets like they had guns and demanded her keys in the 7500 block of Lyndale Avenue. They got into her Chevrolet Traverse and left.
  • On Jan. 12 at 10:09 a.m., another woman at the same Richfield parking lot said two people believed to be Wertman and Argue demanded her keys and tried to steal her dogs as she walked them. She was able to run away and saw them steal the Chevrolet Traverse.
  • On Jan. 12 at 1:45 p.m., a woman at a gym in the 1500 block of Shingle Creek Crossing in Brooklyn Park reported a vehicle pulled up next to her, demanded her keys, punched her in the face when she resisted and then fled. The suspect vehicle matched the stolen Chevrolet Traverse.
  • On Jan. 12 at 4:09 p.m., a woman in the 7700 block of Computer Avenue in Edina told police she was picking her child up from daycare when an SUV pulled up by her, demanded her keys, which she gave up, but was able to grab her purse and phone. As she fled, she fell and Argue got on her until the daycare owner intervened and pulled Argue off. The suspects then fled in a vehicle matching the stolen Traverse.
  • On Jan. 12 at 4:49 p.m., a woman said she was walking to her vehicle in the 1400 block of Dakota Avenue South in St. Louis Park when two people approached her, demanded her keys, and, after a struggle, left in her Nissan Rogue, leaving behind the stolen Traverse.
  • On Jan. 15 at 1:12 p.m., a woman said she was making a delivery to an apartment complex in the 2700 block of Louisiana Avenue South in St. Louis Park when two people with hands in their pockets as if they had guns demanded her keys and threatened to shoot her. One then left in the victim’s Nissan Rogue while the other left in the other previously stolen Nissan Rogue.
  • On Jan. 16 at 3:18 p.m., a woman reported she’d just parked in a parking ramp in the 5200 block of Cedar Lake North in St. Louis Park when Wertman demanded her keys, elbowed her in the chest when she didn’t comply and then drove off in her Audi TT.
  • On Jan. 17 at 4:37 p.m., St. Louis Park officers responded to the 1600 block of Duke Drive and a woman said she’d just gotten out of her vehicle when two suspects put their hands on her shoulders and demanded her purse. She ran but her phone was taken. Her phone was later recovered by police inside the stolen Audi.
  • Later on Jan. 17, Minneapolis police went to the 700 block of Ninth Street Southeast after two women said they’d parked their Subaru when a car pulled up, the occupants grabbed her purse and then fled in the stolen Audi and Subaru.

Argue and Wertman had their bail set at $250,000.