Fridley Man Sentenced for Role in Armed Robberies Involving Two Anoka County Businesses

Although Isaiah Smith was already on probation after receiving a stayed sentence last January for a robbery conviction, he was offered a plea agreement in another robbery case which dismissed one of two felony charges related to his role in the robbery of two business in Anoka County in May.

Isaiah Smith, Anoka County Jail

Although Isaiah Smith was already on probation after receiving a stayed sentence last January for a robbery conviction, he was offered a plea agreement in another robbery case which dismissed one of two felony charges related to his role in the robbery of two business in Anoka County in May.

Smith was convicted last January on felony simple robbery, but under the terms of a plea agreement in that case, his 23-month felony sentence was stayed by Anoka County Judge James A. Cunningham, Jr. Smith was given credit for 86 days spent in jail and was released from custody on probation.

Four months later, Smith and his accomplice, Chanelle Marie Harrington Turner, gave a loaded firearm to two teenage boys who then used the gun to rob two gas stations in Columbia Heights and Spring Lake Park in the early morning hours of May 12, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint states that at approximately 5:00 that morning, employees at the Holiday gas station on the 4200 block of Central Avenue Northeast in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, called 911 to report an aggravated robbery at the gas station. Employees stated that two juvenile teenaged boys entered the gas station after talking to each other for a few minutes in the parking lot. They entered the store and approached the cashier after a few minutes. One boy pulled a gun from his waistband and showed the employees a black handgun and demanded money from the employees. Both boys then left the store on foot and nothing was stolen from the store. The employees described the boys as thin, approximately six feet tall, and wearing white and light blue hoodies.

A short time later, at approximately 5:15 a.m., an employee at the Speedway gas station at the 7200 block of Highway 65 Northeast in Fridley, reported that two juvenile teenage boys came to the gas station. One of the boys pulled out a handgun and demanded that the employee give him the cash from the cash register. The employee gave the boy $88. The employee reported that both boys then ran out of the store. The boys matched the same description as the boys involved with the incident fifteen minutes prior in Columbia Heights, the complaint said.

Upon viewing surveillance video from the robberies, a police officer recognized the two boys from a traffic stop of a black Chevy Impala that had taken place prior to the robberies at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Interstate 694. The boys were wearing the same clothing in the videos as they were wearing during the traffic stop. At the time of the stop, the officer identified Smith as the driver of the vehicle and Harrington Turner as the passenger.

Officers later arrested both juveniles. In a post-Miranda statement to police, the first juvenile (J1) explained that Smith drove the juveniles to the Holiday gas station and that the car belonged to Harrington Turner, who was also present in the vehicle. He explained that either Smith or Harrington Turner gave the juveniles the gun and that the gun had bullets in it. The juvenile saw Harrington Turner get the gun from the trunk of the vehicle and stated that the other juvenile boy used the gun during the robberies. He stated that the plan was for the four of them to split the money obtained from the robberies. 

J1 stated that he and the other juvenile (J2) did not get any money from the first robbery and that Smith then drove them to the Speedway in Fridley to try another robbery to get money. While the robberies happened, Smith and Harrington Turner waited in the car a couple of blocks away. J1 stated that they stole $30 in the second robbery and that Smith then drove the boys to Northtown Mall and dropped them off.

In a post-Miranda statement to police, J2 explained that he brandished the gun at the employees during both robberies and asked for the money out of the register. He said he got scared during the first robbery, so he ran away before getting any money. He said that Smith and Harrington Turner waited for him and J1 a couple of blocks away during both robberies. He corroborated that the plan was for the four of them to split the money from the robberies.

Police arrested Smith and Harrington Turner on May 15 after officers responded to a report of a domestic incident at a home in Columbia Heights. While at the home, officers learned from the homeowner that Smith and Harrington Turner were sleeping downstairs. The officers also observed the black Chevy Impala at the residence. Officers obtained a warrant to search the car and the house, and they found a white hoodie that belonged to one of the juveniles in the car. The officers found a gun in the ceiling near where Smith and Harrington Turner were sleeping. It was a black semi-automatic handgun and matched the description given by the victims of the robberies. The magazine of the gun had loaded rounds inside, but there was not a live round in the chamber. The homeowner informed officers that Harrington Turner arrived home at approximately 6 a.m. on May 12. The homeowner told police that the gun had to belong to Smith or Harrington Turner.

Smith, 19, and Harrington Turner, 18, were each charged with one felony count of first-degree aggravated robbery and one felony count of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery. Information about any potential charges against the juvenile suspects was not made available in the complaint.

Smith, whose address is listed on the 5600 block of 6th Street Northeast in Fridley, pleaded guilty in September to one count of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery and was sentenced this week to 34 months in prison by Judge Thomas M. Fitzpatrick following a plea agreement that dismissed the other charge of first-degree aggravated robbery. Under Minnesota statute, offenders are only required to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated. With credit for 137 days already served in jail, Smith is anticipated to be released in July 2021.

(Chanelle Marie Harrington Turner, Anoka County Jail)

Court records show that Harrington Turner pleaded guilty to both felony counts in December and that a review hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19. Harrington Turner, whose address is listed on the 4500 block of Polk Street Northeast in Columbia Heights, is currently in custody in Anoka County Jail. 

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