Five facing felony charges in brazen midday store robbery

Terry Barber
Demetre Spencer
Kenari Harper
   Five men are facing felony charges after a brazen midday robbery led to a police chase up Route 35E.
   Eagan police captured the men in St. Paul after the car full of suspects led police on a high-speed chase, driving around traffic on the shoulder of the highway in a white BMW with no license plates and running a red light at a St. Paul intersection before ditching the car and trying to escape on foot, according to court records.
   The man believed to be driving the car, Terry Barber, 21, of 3022 224th St. N., Minneapolis, is facing a felony charge of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle. Barber is being held at the Dakota County jail in lieu of $80,000 bail and on a Rosemount warrant for theft.
   Barber and the other four men, Kenari Harper, 20, 1441 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul; Murray Horton, 45, 332 W. 106th St., Chicago; Antejuan Horton, 26, 440 Labore Road, Little Canada; and Demetre Spencer, 25, 840 Beech St., St. Paul; are all facing felony charges of robbery and theft over $5,000. Spencer was ordered held in the Dakota County jail in lieu of $80,000 bail and on a parole violation. He was convicted of drug and assault charges in 2015, according to court records.
   The robbery occurred at a retail store on Cliff Road shortly after noon on Nov. 14, according to court records. Three of the men had gone to the store the night before to case the store, according to police. On the day of the robbery, the oldest of the suspects, Murray Horton, allegedly posed as a customer, telling a store clerk he was looking for iPads for his grandchildren. He asked the clerk to open the lower display case.
   When the clerk opened the case, the remaining four suspects closed in, shoving the female clerk to the ground and stepping over her as she lay on the floor. They stole nearly $8,000 worth of iPads and iWatches, according to police, before running to the waiting BMW. During a search of the car after the arrest, police found 13 iWatches and 8iPads.
   A store security officer gave police a description of the white BMW. Eagan police in marked cruisers began following the car when they spotted it on 35E near Diffley Road. The getaway car sped up and veered around traffic, driving on the shoulder of the road, according to police. The car hit speeds up to 100 m.p.h. in the 55 m.p.h. zone, according to court records.
   With lights and sirens activated, Eagan police continued to follow the speeding car as it turned off 35E onto W. 7th St. in St. Paul. The white BMW continued to lead chase for several blocks, weaving through traffic and running a red light at the Randolph Ave., according to police. The car cut through a gas station and turned into a yard, where the driver jumped out and fled on foot until police caught up and arrested him.      
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"This is a crisis and we need your help"

Police raid local apartment
   Eastview High School, Nov. 16 -- “We’ve got a crisis on our hands,” Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie told an Eastview High School auditorium audience of too few. “This is a crisis and we need your help.”
   Leslie and an A-List panel of the county’s crime fighters, the head of law enforcement’s drug task force, Dakota County’s chief drug prosecutor, a high school administrator, recovering addicts and the people who help them, and a mother coping with her son’s drug use came together to educate the community about the drug crisis that seems to be eluding the attention of many in Dakota County.
   The bottom line: These are not the drugs kids did when you went to high school. They are more potent. They are easily available. Methamphetamine is coming to Dakota County by the truckload. It, and other drugs, are being stashed and sold in neighborhoods near you. People are dying from overdoses. Middle school and high school kids are starting on the path to addiction. The police can’t stop it by themselves.
   Nationwide, more people died from overdoses last year than were killed during the worst year of homicides, suicides, car crashes, or the Viet Nam War, according to Leslie. Jim Gabriel, the head of the Dakota County Drug Task Force, said the Twin Cities area has become a hub for drug trafficking activity, particularly methamphetamine, but marijuana remains the most commonly used drug.
   That, he said, is often brought in from states such as Colorado and California, where marijuana can be obtained legally. It is sold at a huge profit margin here and is far more potent than what some parents might be familiar with. The typical THC ratio, the proportion of the drug’s active ingredient, in marijuana in 1995 was four percent. Now, it’s eleven percent. The concentration in a butane distillation commonly called marijuana wax is 35 to 90 percent.
   In a series of personal stories, recovering addicts and the mother of a substance abuser told the impact drug use has on families. A St. Paul man told how his family’s life changed after his sister was killed in a car crash when he was 12 and he began using drugs, and stealing to buy the drugs. A Lakeville woman told how she discovered meth at the age of 30, and quit her job and didn’t care about anything else within a week.
   “We’re not bad people,” she said. “We just get wrapped up in things.”
   She told parents to be proactive with their children. “Get in their business,” she said. “I wish my parents had not given me the benefit of the doubt.”