Callers pose as police in shakedown scam

Inver Grove Heights South St. Paul West St. Paul


-- The Fifth Amendment states you don’t have to incriminate yourself. A lesser-known, but no less important right: you don’t have too make yourself look worse. A driver pulled over on Concord Avenue near I-494 for erratic driving Feb. 10 informed the officer he should give him a break instead of arresting him for a DUI. His reason? He claimed to work for the detox center. To the officer, however, this only meant the man should have known better. He was arrested, but sadly for him his .16 blood alcohol content wasn’t high enough to merit attention from his (probably former) co-workers.

-- The first step is admitting you have a problem: Police were called to home on 7000 block of Bond Way Feb. 11 by a mother found her 19-year-old son badly beaten. The woman said when she got home from work late she found the house in disarray and her son vomiting and bleeding. When police talked with young man, he told them he’d been home sleeping all night and nothing had happened. This would have been a fine explanation, except it failed to account for the dried blood, bruises and scratches on his body, as well as the blood on the carpet and the hole in his bedroom wall. Police then asked if he was on any drugs, and the man told them he’d used weed and Oxycodone, which goes a long way toward understanding his nonchalance about the beating. Police labeled the case is inactive due to the lack of suspects.

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-- Here’s one thief who might be identified by soft skin instead of shifty demeanor: a woman called police from her home on the 200 block of Second Ave. Feb. 22 to complain that someone had stolen her mail. The woman explained that when she went to check her mail she found one of the packages had been torn open, and someone had made off with the cosmetic lotion inside.

Warrant arrest
-- Talk about trying to be somebody you’re not: An officer patrolling on Southview Avenue Feb. 24 noticed a man walking away from an apartment from which police had received a call a few months earlier. In that call, the woman who lived at the apartment said her boyfriend had a felony warrant and had been making frightening threats lately. While he’d evaded police back then, the officer decided to stop the man in case he was the suspect. The man gave him his name, but when the officer checked it against the DVS system he learned his suspect should 4 feet 3 inches tall and 110 pounds, which seemed to be more than little off considering this man was 6 foot and around 200 pounds. The officer then called down the woman who made the earlier report and met with her separately to confirm the man’s identity. The man was arrested on the earlier warrant with a charge of giving false info to police tacked on.

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Check welfare
-- Sure, dog is man’s best friend, but what happens when best friends quarrel? A driver called police Feb. 21 to report a man standing with his dog in the middle of Robert Street at Wentworth Avenue, not moving at all. It turned out the man was blind and the dog was a service animal, but the caller reported that the dog seemed blissfully unaware of any responsibility to resolve the predicament. The man, for his part, refused the help of several people who attempted to escort him. By the time officers arrived, the uncooperative duo had made it across the street and was boarding a bus.

Drug activity
-- Is it better or worse if the malodorous smoke from next door is legal? A resident at an apartment on the 1800 block of Scott Lane called police Feb. 21 to complain that the person in the apartment next to him was smoking weed and the smell was seeping into his place. When officers arrived, they determined with a few sniffs that the odor was actually incense, not cannabis. The suspected resident gladly let the officers in to confirm the distinction.

Phone scam
-- A man called police Feb. 20 to say someone had been calling his mother and identifying himself as a member of the West St. Paul Police. Apparently the would-be cop told the woman she had to register with the department and make a donation if she wanted officers to help her in the event of an emergency. After hearing this, the actual police officer told the man whoever contacted his mother was most definitely not a West St. Paul officer, nor is the department funded through a mob-style protection racket.

Check welfare
-- The days of the full-service station may be over, but that doesn’t mean gas station attendants do nothing but swipe credit cards. A clerk at a Marathon station on the 400 block of Mendota Road called police Feb. 19 to report a woman pumping gas who appeared to be drunk. The clerk said he was concerned for the woman’s child, a girl about 6 years old, who was crying in the backseat. Police caught up with the woman and arrested her as she attempted to drive away from the station.

Criminal sexual conduct
-- Ah, dinner by the light of a full moon: a manager at Buffalo Wild Wings called police Feb. 22 to report a man who got up from his table, walked outside the restaurant and mooned customers at another table through the window. He then returned to his table to continue his meal with his friends, despite the protestations of the staff. The group did eventually haul their mooning parts out before officers arrived.

Ordinance violation
-- Discretion is the better part of valor, and also law enforcement. The officer who found four young adults sledding in Marthaler Park near midnight Feb. 22 advised the group about violating park hours, but granted them one last run before they packed it in for the night.

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