Charges against Duluth man dismissed in Taco John's robbery
Charges have been dismissed against a man accused of robbing a Duluth fast food restaurant at gunpoint. Andrew Harland Salus, 31, of Duluth, had been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of making terroristic threats for al...
Charges have been dismissed against a man accused of robbing a Duluth fast food restaurant at gunpoint.
Andrew Harland Salus, 31, of Duluth, had been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of making terroristic threats for allegedly robbing the Taco John's at 315 E. Central Entrance on Nov. 12, 2011.
Salus made his own arguments in court with an attorney only acting as advisory counsel. Salus argued that there was insufficient probable cause that he committed the crimes.
Last Friday, Judge David Johnson granted Salus' motion to dismiss the complaint against him.
There were similarities in the Taco John's robbery and an armed robbery Salus was accused of committing at a McDonald's in Fargo, N.D., on Nov. 13, 2011, the day after the Duluth robbery. That and other evidence led Duluth police to conclude that Salus committed the armed robbery here.
Johnson wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order to dismiss charges that there was very little to tie Salus to the Taco John's robbery.
"The fact that both incidents occurred at fast food restaurants, the assailants both carried a black gun, and possibly wore similar clothing is not enough for the court to find that probable cause exists," Johnson wrote. "The only evidence that connects the defendant to the Taco John's robbery is a witness' statement that the shoes in the picture from the McDonald's robbery were the same shoes worn by the assailant at Taco John's. It is very important to reiterate that the same witness, prior to being shown the picture, gave various descriptions of the style of shoes; none of which matched the shoes shown to her in the picture."
Salus telephoned the News Tribune from the St. Louis County Jail on Thursday to report the dismissal of charges.
"I think it's only fair that the community knows that this case was dismissed," he said. "My name had been splashed all over the newspaper."
He said he pleaded guilty to the North Dakota charge. In the Fargo robbery he was accused of striking a manager several times with a handgun and was arrested while still struggling with employees. Police said Salus suffered burns when he came into contact with cooking grease during the fight.