U Bookstores employee catches shoplifter

The employee made a citizen’s arrest and issued a warning.

Nicholas Studenski

University of Minnesota Bookstores employee and mortuary science senior Robert Olson made a citizen’s arrest when he caught a woman shoplifting Friday.

Olson said he was standing by the entrance to the bookstore when he saw the female suspect, who is not a University student, remove tags from an article of a toddler’s clothing and hide them in an aisle of CDs.

Olson reported the incident to his boss on his walkie-talkie, and they went to look for the suspect, he said. They found the suspect eating pizza outside Coffman Memorial Union’s cafeteria.

When they asked her about the items, Olson said, the woman said she forgot to pay for them.

Olson placed her under citizen’s arrest while his boss called University police. They cited her for misdemeanor shoplifting and issued her a trespass warning, according to the University police report.

This is the second citizen’s arrest Olson has made since working at the bookstore, he said.

“I bet we get three per month,” he said.

University police Lt. Dave Wilske agreed that crimes like this are “fairly common at the bookstore.”

When employees catch shoplifters, he said, they normally make a citizen’s arrest before calling police. Wilske said citizen’s arrests happen about once per week on campus.

Kaler talks safety

In response to an armed robbery Monday afternoon, University President Eric Kaler sent an email to the University community. In the email, he expressed his concern regarding campus safety.

“The rash of recent robberies and other crimes near and on our Minneapolis campus is troubling and disturbing, and it angers and frustrates me,” he said in the email.

Kaler outlined the University’s plan to make campus safer, which includes stepping up police patrols and adding to the 1,700 security cameras on campus.

University Services Vice President Pam Wheelock and University police Chief Greg Hestness met with Minneapolis police Chief Janeé Harteau last week to discuss the recent increase in crime on campus, according to the email. Kaler said he also plans to meet with Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges about safety on campus.

Kaler advised students that walking alone and being distracted can increase the risk of a crime, and he gave a reminder that the University offers services like the campus security monitor escort service, 624-WALK, and the Gopher Chauffeur to help students stay safe.

Ex-roommate skirmish

A University student had an unwelcome visitor early Saturday morning.

The victim’s former roommate entered his house in Southeast Como and physically assaulted him, according to a Minneapolis police report.

Cyndi Barrington, Minneapolis Police Department public information officer, said the student is doing well.

“The victim sustained very minor injuries,” she said. The student fought back against the suspect and kicked him out of the house, according to the police report. Barrington said the case is under investigation.