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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2000

Man indicted in holdups at Meijer stores

A Michigan man arrested after he was featured on an America's Most Wanted episode was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury yesterday for charges stemming from robberies of two Toledo-area Meijer stores.

Thomas Hansen, 40, of Charlotte, Mich., was indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnapping. He also was charged with using a gun during the crimes.

Mr. Hansen is accused of robbing $20,000 from a Meijer store at 1500 East Alexis Rd., Toledo, in April, 1999, and $29,000 from a store at 7240 West Central Ave., Sylvania Township, in July, 1999.

He also is a suspect in the robberies of Meijer stores in Fort Wayne, Ind., and South Bend, Ind.

He is being held in the Eaton County jail, Charlotte. He waived extradition and will be brought to Toledo today.

Mr. Hansen was arrested Dec. 16 near his Michigan home by Eaton County sheriff's deputies. The capture resulted from a tip from a man watching the Nov. 25 episode of America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back. A segment on the robberies was taped Oct. 26 in the Toledo area.

John Weglian, chief of the special units division of the Lucas County prosecutor's office, said Mr. Hansen had $100,000 in the trunk of his car when he was arrested. Mr. Weglian said Mr. Hansen was a “disgruntled former employee” who was a Meijer manager in Lansing before being fired in 1998.

Police and show representatives declined to identify the person who tipped them off about Mr. Hansen. They said the person is a former co-worker and neighbor of Mr. Hansen.

The man was watching the episode of the Saturday-night show on the Fox network when he recognized the man on the tape in the robberies.

Mr. Hansen is a former 17-year employee of Meijer and was a manager at several stores, Detective Slaman said. In the mid-1990s, Mr. Hansen may have worked at the Toledo or Sylvania store.

He told authorities he opened the Fort Wayne store and worked in the South Bend area. He was fired in February, 1998, for shoplifting at a Meijer store in East Lansing, Mich., the detective said.

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