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Alleged armed robbery accomplice charged

Formal charges were filed Friday against a Minneapolis man accused of serving as an accomplice in an armed robbery at a Woodbury jewelry store.

Erick Larkins, 46, was charged with one count of first-degree aiding and abetting an aggravated robbery involving a firearm.

Washington County prosecutors allege Larkins drove the gunman, Thomas Eric Jones, to Johnson Jewelers in the Seasons Market shopping center on June 21. According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Jones entered the store brandishing a .357 revolver and ordered jewelry store workers to bag up jewelry until he spotted a Woodbury police officer outside the building.

The complaint states Jones then rushed to the back of the business, shot himself in the head and died.

According to the complaint, Larkins was seen at the neighboring Max Muscle business about seven minutes before the robbery attempt. A review of surveillance video revealed Larkins peeking in the window of Johnson Jewelers as he walked to Max Muscle, where he did not make a purchase. He is later seen looking in the jewelry store window on his way back out to his car, the complaint states.

The officer alerted to the robbery had already run the plates of Larkins’ vehicle after passing it in the parking lot, the complaint states. The officer was alerted to the robbery shortly after by a jewelry store worker who flagged him down.

Larkins was located by police on June 22 at his home, where he admitted to driving Jones to the Woodbury jewelry store. He told police he was paid $15 by Jones to take him to the store. He said that after coming back from Max Muscle, he returned to his car where he watched as Jones “pulled something out of his shirt and put something on his head.” Police later discovered Jones had worn a hat containing fake dreadlocks during the robbery.

Larkins also admitted to leaving his car parked at the north end of the parking lot after Jones got out of the vehicle.

Police interviewed a witness who said she had previously driven Larkins and Jones to Johnson Jewelers in Woodbury, where Larkins was to purportedly look for a ring for his girlfriend.

According to Minnesota court records, Larkins’ prior criminal history includes convictions for carrying a pistol without a permit, serving as an accomplice after the fact and first-degree sale of crack cocaine.

The most recent accomplice charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $35,000 fine. Larkins’ arraignment date was not immediately available.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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