WEST SAINT PAUL - The West St. Paul Police Department responded to a call around 10 PM on Monday, August 14, 2023, in West St. Paul for the reports of a robbery in progress. When West St. Paul Officers arrived, they found two males on the ground. Upon further investigation, it was the Victim of the call pinning down a man who would later be identified as Hector Gracia-Sainz. Mr. Gracia-Sainz was handcuffed by West St. Paul Police Officers and placed in the back of a squad car.
According to the criminal complaint, the Victim stated he was in his parked car on the phone when Mr. Gracia-Sainz came out of bushes near the Victim's car and started asking the Victim questions. As time passed, the questions toward the Victim continued before Mr. Gracia-Sainz began antagonizing him. While this was happening, the Victim remained on the phone with his friend, who later pulled up next to the Victim's car and became a Witness to the following events. Mr. Gracia-Sainz then entered the Victim's car from the passenger side window and demanded the Victim give him the keys to his vehicle while attempting to pull the keys out of the ignition. The Victim got the keys out of his car, exited his vehicle from the driver's side door, and then threw the keys into the friend's car. Mr. Gracia-Sainz then attempted to go after the Victim by crawling through the front of the car and then tried to get into the friend's vehicle.
The Victim reported he tried to stop Mr. Gracia-Sainz from getting the keys from his friend's car by wrestling Mr. Gracia-Sainz to the ground. While on the ground, Mr. Gracia-Sainz bit and punched the Victim, continually asking, "Where are your keys?"
When the Police interviewed the Friend of the Victim, he corroborated the Victim's stories. He even added that Mr. Gracia-Sainz was pulling the Victim's hair and saw the Victim subdue Mr. Gracia-Sainz. According to the criminal complaint, West St Paul Police Officers saw and photographed multiple cuts and bruises on the Victim from the altercation with Mr. Gracia-Sainz.
According to Mr. Gracia-Sainz, he was being vigilant because his sister had been involved in an "attempted mugging" that day in South St Paul and because he didn't know the Victim. Mr. Gracia-Sainz was charged with Felony Attempted Carjacking in the 1st Degree (bodily harm or dangerous weapon), with a maximum sentence of 0-10 years and/or a fine of $10,500 to $35,000.
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