Spring cleaning in WSP: time to throw out the Christmas trees and unwelcome guests

Also, March Madness is fun until the police are called

South-West Review police reports Apr. 20, 2014

West St. Paul

Littering — Tossing a Christmas tree into a yard in April could leave neighbors scratching their heads. Early April 2, a homeowner on Dodd Road discovered a dumped decoration in the front yard, didn’t know what to do, and so decided to call the police. Police found the “real” Christmas tree lying on the boulevard, and, having no idea where it had been lingering since Dec. 26, made arrangements to dispose of it.

Property damage — Sometimes a security deposit just doesn’t cover it. After a resident moved out of a local apartment complex on April 2, the landlord found the tenant had left a few things behind: dried vomit on the floor, a hole in the wall and a broken vanity. The complex’s management called the police in order to press charges.

Animal call — A mom and her daughter brought a stray black and carmel-colored Scottish terrier mix they’d found the afternoon of April 2 to the police department lobby, saying they’d had it scanned for a identifying microchip at a local vet clinic and it didn’t seem to have one. The pup had apparently enjoyed their company and the car rides and was somewhat reluctant to leave them but was passed on to an officer to be impounded at the South St. Paul Animal Hospital.

Harassment — That’s one way to leave an impression. A woman exiting a local restaurant at 6:34 p.m. April 2 was greeted by a man who reportedly harassed her and threw a pop bottle at her. Apparently, the woman just met the man that day — he’s the boyfriend of her grandson’s mother. Other than its impact on their future relationship, the flying bottle didn’t cause any damage. Police provided the caller with information on how to obtain a restraining order. Police weren’t able to reach the man who pitched the pop projectile.

Disturbances — A resident heard a crash and voices outside at nearly 2 a.m. on April 3. Three people were discovered in a car that crashed into a large pine tree.
— What’s it like to live below a clean freak with insomnia? A resident at a local apartment complex knows all too well. On April 4 at 2:21 a.m., someone called to complain that a neighbor upstairs was making a lot of noise vacuuming while the resident was trying to sleep. Police advised the tidy tenant of the complex’s “thin walls, being considerate of neighbors, etc.”

— While at a cafe at 3:48 a.m. April 4, a man used the establishment’s phone to report that the homeless man he’d let stay at his apartment to get out of the weather had overstayed his welcome. The once-good Samaritan was unhappy that the homeless man ate his food and took advantage of him. The unwelcome guest refused to leave, until shortly after the police arrived.

— Bro, how’s your bracket? A resident complained to police April 5 at 6:02 p.m. that a neighbor was being very loud. The tenant was watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament (March Madness) and talking with his brother on the phone. Police noted he was talking fairly loudly and could be heard from another floor.  

Scams — When the IRS isn’t interested in your money: A man reported he may have been the victim of a phone scam the afternoon of April 3. Someone on the phone claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service, telling him he owed money, and if he didn’t pay them right away, his driver’s license would be suspended. The person on the phone told the man to get $2,500 in prepaid money cards, and then read the numbers back. The man purchased the cards, and then an alert convenience store employee advised him that it was probably a scam. He called police, who told him to return the cards and get his money back.

— The resident of a senior living complex reported a mail scam April 4 in which the resident received a check in a large amount from the United Kingdom. Police advised the resident that the check was a scam, but prosecution wasn’t an option. Police made arrangements for the resident to do a presentation on scams and identity theft.

— Don’t return to sender: After a woman was sent a check she couldn’t cash, she reported it to police April 4. The check came with instructions: cash it, get a bunch of money cards and send the credit card numbers to the male sender. Luckily, the scam hit a snag when the bank wouldn’t take the check. The woman didn’t lose any money. Police advised her that it was a scam attempt. 

— Grandma? Help! A woman reported April 4 that someone called her, saying he was her grandson. Police advised her not to give out any financial information.

Thefts — A 911 call came in from a woman apparently using a cell phone southeast of 354 Annapolis on April 2. She was crying, and in a panic, but the dispatcher couldn’t understand anything she was saying except “just stole my” before t  he line disconnected. The dispatcher tried to call back, but there was no answer.

— A shoplifter at a local grocery store on April 3 made it almost too easy for police to book him. He was caught stealing, had a meth pipe on his person, and had a warrant out for his arrest for a misdemeanor. He was issued a citation for theft and sent to jail.

— A woman returned to her third-floor apartment recently and found that someone took her TV, jewelry and money. She told police that someone must have come in from the balcony.

—On April 8, someone made off with a silver Honda Civic from an auto repair shop. Value: $3,921.

Child welfare — An employee at a local burrito joint saw something in the drive-thru last week that couldn’t go unreported: a baby on the lap of a passenger, instead of a car seat. When police arrived, the car with two young females and the child was gone.

Assault — Let’s take it outside. Two teenage males (a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old) were at a party April 8, started arguing and decided to settle the disagreement outside. The younger one ended up with a broken jaw, and was sent to the hospital. Police have interviewed witnesses and the incident is under investigation.

South St. Paul

Property damage — A resident reported April 4 that it appeared someone tried to get into a garage, damaging the door and door frame and cutting the window screen. Items were stolen from the garage recently, which resulted in a significant monetary loss for the resident who reported the damage.

Burglary — The doors are locked? Ooh — golf club! A woman reported early April 6 that her brown snakeskin wallet was stolen out of her car on the 600 block of Seventh Avenue. The car’s driver’s side window was smashed by a golf club from the golf bag that rested near the car. Several other golf clubs were missing. The wallet contained debit and credit cards and $80 cash, but the woman was most concerned about the wallet, because it was a gift from her brother who brought it from Vietnam. Two other thefts from cars were reported in the area around the same time.

Theft — A resident reported early April 6 that a stereo was stolen from his unlocked vehicle on the 500 block of Sixth Avenue South. The dashboard was also damaged.

— Early April 6, a resident at the 300 block of Fifth Avenue South reported that someone had entered the garage, and stole a computer. The garage’s overhead door was not secure, so the thief was probably able to just lift the door and get into the garage.

— Someone reported April 6 at 10:15 a.m. that a GPS unit was stolen out of an unlocked car on the 600 block of Seventh Avenue South. Losses are about $200.

— A victim of a theft from a vehicle found black toolboxes near his house under a tree along the 500 block of Sixth Avenue South. The boxes were believed to be connected to a string of thefts in the area.

— The makings for an epic day at the arcade? A landlord on April 8 reported the top of a dryer was stolen, including three months’ worth of quarters inside of it. The landlord estimated the quarters were worth up to $500, and replacing the dryer would cost up to $900.

Inver Grove Heights

Disturbances — Talk about your Hatfields and McCoys. A South St. Paul man reported March 21 that another man, from Inver Grove Heights, had punched him in the head. The two sat next to one another at a local bar, playing pull tabs. The South St. Paul man told police that the other man just randomly hit him, but later said there may have been some “jaw jacking” back and forth. The officers informed him the punch would only call for a fifth-degree assault charge and a citation, not jail time, but the man didn’t think that was good enough, and urged officers to talk to witnesses. In talking to those witnesses, police found that the man had not been punched in the face, but had actually initiated an argument, pushing the other man around  after expressing expressing frustration that the Inver Grove Heights man kept winning pull tabs. Because the fight was “mutual,” police said no one would be charged. Not getting the results he wanted, the South St. Paul man eventually walked home.

Thefts — An employee at a local hardware store on March 25 discovered $1,000 worth of sheet copper had been stolen. It appeared to have been a fairly well-planned raid; someone had apparently dismantled the lock on the gate, and would have had to use at least a full-size truck to haul the sheet copper. The thief secured the gate with a shoelace to make it less obvious the lock had been dismantled. The store had been receiving copper from the old Metrodome site.

Burglary — Leaving a window open can let in more than a breeze. A man at a local apartment complex called the police after he discovered a gaming system was missing from his grandson’s room. He heard a thud around 5:15 p.m. on March 23, thought nothing of it at the time, then a half-hour later discovered the PlayStation 4 was gone. The window was left open, and the screen was cut.


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