Suspects smash cars in University Ave. auto shop

Kia Farhang

Four men did more than $2,000 in damage to cars in an auto body repair shop near the University of Minnesota campus Wednesday, according to a Minneapolis police report.

One of the suspects is a contractor who’d previously worked with Titan Auto & Tire Repair. He and another suspect had demanded money from the shop’s owner earlier in the week.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said no arrests have yet been made in the case.

David Samec, the only employee in the shop at the time of the incident, said four men came in Wednesday morning asking for money they said the shop owed them.

Samec told the men he wasn’t the owner and didn’t know what they were talking about.

One of the men was holding something in his waistband, the police report said. Samec said he thought it was a gun.

Samec said the men told him to sit down and threatened to hurt him if he intervened.

“I didn’t want to get hurt,” Samec said. “I have a family.”

The four men smashed the windows of two cars left in the shop for repairs, then fled.

Dennis Browne, who owns the shop, said the men broke the windows of two cars, smashing the mirrors of one, with hammers.

The repairs will be expensive, Browne said, because the type of glass used in the windows is rare.

After the incident, Samec said he’s worried about coming in to work.

“I was terrified,” he said.

Bait bike lands suspects

University police cited three juveniles for attempted bike theft on West Bank on Monday night, according to a police report.

Department of Central Security staff saw four men on camera trying to cut the lock off of a bait bike, which is designed to lure would-be thieves into committing a crime.

Police caught three of the young men, issued them trespass warnings and cited them for lurking.