At least one theft occurs at Peik Hall, no arrests made

Four calls were made to University police Friday regarding a “suspicious” man.

Andy Steinke

After a theft at Peik Hall on Friday, University police and staff are keeping their eyes open for a suspect who may be responsible for that theft and more.

Four calls were made to University police on Friday afternoon, two from Peik Hall, one from the lab library at Walter F. Mondale Hall and one from the Coffman Union Bookstore for a “suspicious” man who allegedly stole a book bag and was asking for donations.

Speech, language and hearing science senior Erica Nolte had her backpack stolen Friday afternoon when she was studying on the third floor in Peik Hall.

She said the man who she believes took the bag was wearing a bright-colored stocking cap and had a distinct limp.

University police Lt. Chuck Miner said the man is 35 years old, but wouldn’t release his name because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

University police were also dispatched to Coffman Union on Friday afternoon after receiving a call from someone in the bookstore that the suspect was there, Miner said.

Miner said he wasn’t sure how someone at Coffman Bookstore knew who the man was.

Officers found the man and talked with him, but they weren’t able to get in contact with Nolte to have her identify him as the man who stole her backpack, so they released him.

According to another police report, the same man has allegedly been stealing property from Peik Hall during the past week and then selling the books at the Dinkytown Student Bookstore, which doesn’t require identification to sell books.

Nolte’s backpack was found Friday in a Peik Hall bathroom after a second call was made to University police from the building shortly after the theft.

The caller said the suspicious man was back in the building.

Nolte said she was getting up to go to the bathroom when she first encountered the man in Peik Hall.

The man came from the stairwell and walked past her before going into the men’s bathroom. After only a few seconds, he came back out and went back down the stairs.

Nolte checked the stairs before using the women’s bathroom at the other end of the hallway. When she came back out, her backpack was gone, but she didn’t notice it immediately because her books, umbrella and water bottle were still on the table she was using.

When she was getting ready to go to class about 25 minutes later she noticed her bag was missing and made the day’s first call to police.

While officer Kari Stephney was driving Nolte home after her call, Nolte said she heard a radio call from Mondale Hall about a suspect that fit the same description.

According to one University police report filed Friday, several suspicious person calls had been made in the past three days for a man with the same description as the Peik Hall thief.

Varsity Theater burglarized

On April 6, the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown was broken into, according to a Minneapolis police report.

An ATM that wasn’t bolted down was taken from the lobby during the burglary.

According to the report, there was an event at the theater during the afternoon, but the business was locked at 3 p.m. with the machine inside.

Minneapolis police, however, found no forced entry into the building after the burglary was reported.

The machine was found to be missing that night. Police don’t have any suspects.