Heavy lifting involved in theft of bowling balls

Not at all mellow about drug test

South-West Review police reports Jan. 26, 2014

West St. Paul

Suspicious person
— Some people have the right to remain silent; others have no choice: a man delivering newspapers on the 1200 block of Bidwell Ave. called police in the pre-dawn hours Jan. 20 to express concern about a person who’d been sitting in a vehicle parked in a driveway for at least three hours. An officer stopped by the address and determined the vehicle occupant was more likely a victim of horseplay than foul play, since he (it?) was actually a mannequin. But in West St. Paul even fiberglass citizens are valued, and the officer noted the mannequin “appears to be adhering to the rules of the road (wearing a seatbelt) and declined any police services.”

Animal call
Sure beats using the catchpole: an officer on patrol near Salem Church Road and Salem Lane Jan. 20 spotted two dogs running down the road without humans and decided something was amiss. Fortunately, all the officer had to do to corral the dogs was open the back door of the squad car; they jumped in without complaint. The officer then circled the area and soon found the owners in hot pursuit.

Driving complaint
— You’ve heard of a messiah complex, but this seems more like a pariah complex: a man called police the morning of Jan. 14 to complain that a snow plow truck had injured his foot and nearly run him over. The man was unable — or more precisely uninterested — in giving the location of the incident, instead switching gears to complain that someone had shot at him with a .44 magnum handgun two days before. He added that the combination of the two incidents had made him feel that the people of West St. Paul had something against him. The man declined to answer or ignored questions and soon hung up, but just before doing so he signed off saying, “If you come looking for him, he’s going to be hard to find.”

— How not to play it cool: police were called to Menards Jan. 17 to deal with a rowdy employee. Managers explained the employee became upset after they told him he’d have to take a drug test. The employee reportedly attempted to storm out of the office, then shoved another employee who got in his way and punched a door. He calmed down by the time officers arrived and agreed to submit to the test.

— A woman called police from the 1200 block of Ottawa Ave. Jan. 18 to complain of smoke from her neighbor’s chimney blowing into her home — a nuisance the caller claimed was intentional. An officer advised the woman there was little that could be done, since her neighbor had the right to have a fire in the fireplace in his own home and he wasn’t personally responsible for the direction of the wind.

— A homeowner on the 1000 block of Hall Ave. called police Jan. 18 to report that someone had fired a gun into the house. No one was injured in the incident, but the caller pointed out to police where a bullet had crashed through an upstairs window and hit a wall. The caller added the house had been egged the week before, but didn’t think the incidents were related. No suspects have been identified in the incident.

— As if biking in January weren’t miserable enough already: a woman called police from Walmart Jan. 19 to report that her bike had been stolen while she was inside the store. Police are waiting to see if surveillance cameras recorded the theft.

Disturbing the peace
— No crime too small, right? A woman called police from an apartment complex on the 1500 block of Charlton St. to say she believed one of her neighbors entered her apartment while she was out and adjusted the curtain slats. She requested the responding officer be very quiet when entering the building; when the dispatcher asked the woman if she preferred an officer take her report over the phone, the woman declined, saying she believed the phones were bugged. During the conversation, the woman’s son arrived at the apartment, and with a little coaxing the woman agreed to run similar suspicions by him in the future before turning to police.

Inver Grove Heights

False information
— Honesty really is the best policy: an officer patrolling the 3000 block of 80th St. Jan. 8 pulled over a driver he knew to have a revoked license. Upon contact the driver claimed he’d forgotten his ID and gave a fake name, but the officer cut him short, saying he recognized him from previous encounters. “I’m sorry,” the man replied. “I didn’t want to tell you because I don’t have a license.” Despite the apology, the failed gambit added a misdemeanor citation for providing false information to a peace officer as well as citations for driving after revocation and operating a vehicle without a muffler.

— If you ever reach the truth here, how would you know? Police responded to a truck stop on the 11600 block of Courthouse Blvd. Jan. 10 to deal with a woman who’d been staying there the last two days. Upon arrival, officers noted the woman was jittery and out of sorts, walking in circles and talking to herself. The woman said she was waiting for a friend to return with their truck; officers asked her twice for her name and both times she gave a different reply, alternatively claiming she was from Iowa and Indiana. Finally on the third try the woman gave officers her Social Security number, and was arrested for providing false information. While searching her belongings, police found a credit card bearing yet another name. She was held at Dakota County Jail while officers tried to dig up some background information on her, since she had neither a listed address nor phone number.

Auto theft
— A gray 2013 Kia Soul was reported stolen from the parking lot of a hotel on the 5600 block of Bishop Ave. after the owner left it running and unoccupied to warm up. Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station shows a white male in a black jacket and beanie cap heading for the vehicle, but so far no arrests have been made.

South St. Paul

— Smuggling these stolen goods out must have been a feat: a manager at a bowling alley on the 300 block of Concord Exchange called police Jan. 21 to report that someone had stolen six bowling balls, a nylon bag and pair of size 12 shoes from behind the front counter sometime between the afternoon before and that morning. The manager said he didn’t have any suspects in mind but he would review surveillance tapes and see if there was anything useful for officers. (For those wondering, an average bowling ball for an adult weighs between 10 and 16 pounds; a kiddie ball bottoms out at about 8.)

— A snow blower, a drill and a number of other tools with a total value of nearly $700 were reported stolen from a garage on the 700 block of Seventh Ave. Jan. 20 after the owner accidentally left the door open.

— Sometimes well-meaning people acquire counterfeit cash and attempt to spend it by mistake. This doesn’t seem to be one of those times: a cashier at a gas station on the 1200 block of Thompson Ave. became suspicious of a customer who attempted to buy sweet tea and lottery tickets with a $20 bill after she noticed the coloring of the bill was off. Upon closer inspection, the cashier confirmed her suspicion by determining the bill contained no security strip. When she told the customer the problem, he asked to see the bill so he could understand what she was talking about. When she declined to hand it back, he took off on foot. The man is described as a white male in his early 20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with short blond hair and wearing a white hoodie with a black jacket.

Damage to property
— Book lovers may wish to skip this next entry as it contains graphic descriptions of book abuse: a patron at the South St. Paul Library approached the front desk Jan. 16 to inform a librarian he’d just seen a man in the balcony section tearing pages out of a book and spitting on it. The librarian then went upstairs to take a look; the man seemed to be reading at the time, although she noted an abundance of “farting and grunting” and foul ambient odor. After he left, the librarian returned to the section and found the man had actually vomited into the book, with some vomit and saliva also contaminating another nearby book and some shelving. Apparently that wasn’t enough, however: he returned to the library later that same afternoon. Three officers arrived at the library to confront the man, who denied any wrongdoing. Eventually he did admit to puking on a book, but said he was ill and the act was unintentional. However, he rejected the staff’s requests that he pay for the ruined books on the grounds he couldn’t afford it. The officers escorted the man from the building and told him he was not to set foot in the South St. Paul Library again under any circumstances.

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