Dispatchers get earful of Maplewood burglars’ plans

There’s a new rule for would-be burglars: don’t dial 911 while you’re casing the joint.

With today’s smartphones able to dial 911 with a touch of the screen, emergency dispatchers spend a lot of time picking up calls from toddlers and “pocket dialers.” They generally try to call the number back to check on the caller’s safety.

But in this case, after hearing a few words of conversation, dispatchers kept listening -- and alerted Maplewood police there might be trouble.

‘If it goes off...’

Ramsey County dispatchers received a 911 call at 4:44 a.m. April 1 and heard a voice say “If it goes off they are right across the street” before the call was cut off.

Theorizing the voice might have talking about a security alarm and locating the phone signal as coming from the 1900 block of County Road D in Maplewood -- mainly a strip of businesses -- dispatchers contacted police to have officers check out the situation.

The first officers on the scene reported two men wearing dark clothing were seen coming out of the Larsen’s Auto/Meineke Car Care Center building; one was carrying a television set and the other had a box.

Told by officers to stop, the pair reportedly dropped the items and ran east, into the fenced area around an apartment building.

Police dogs were sent in to apprehend the men.

Todd Joseph Weiss, 32, of Minnetonka and Justin Grant Evans, 38, of Savage were each charged with third-degree burglary, a felony, by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office April 8.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Following his apprehension, Weiss was taken to Regions Hospital for injuries to his left arm; he reportedly refused to make a statement after being read his rights.

Evans was also taken to Regions, so medical personnel could look at injuries to his upper left back and investigate his claim that he’d taken 15 Xanax. He reportedly denied being in the car-care building, instead insisting he was behind the apartment building having sex with his girlfriend.

At Larsen Auto, police found a door had been pried open and the owner identified the items dropped outside as belonging to the business, as well as an Apple computer that had not been located.

In the charging documents, the county attorney states that both men have “substantial criminal histories including numerous convictions for burglary.”

— Holly Wenzel


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