Homeless often found in U buildings after hours, detective says

Tim Sturrock

A researcher at the Mayo Memorial Building who worked on Saturday – an off day – found a man asleep at her desk.

Dr. Catherine Bendel said the man, 35-year-old Jimmy James Hitchcock, stole and consumed a bottle of wine and an imported pack of cigarettes from a colleague’s office.

Hitchcock also used her wastebasket as a toilet and her coffee cup as an ashtray, she said. Bendel has since disposed of both.

Hitchcock had apparently looked up telephone numbers and made phone calls, Bendel said.

University police Detective Patricia Gjerde said that in the past couple of months Hitchcock has been found in several other University buildings. Gjerde said she believes Hitchcock to be homeless. She said it is not uncommon for police to find homeless people in University buildings after hours.

Bendel said she looks at her office a little differently after the experience.

“I’ve never expected someone before, but now … it makes me
really nervous to come in,” she said.


In other police news

An electrical engineering student said three drunk men stole his backpack – which contained a homework assignment he had just completed – late Saturday night while he was walking home.

“They just put a hand on it, and they just pulled it off,” said sophomore Jayjeev Saraff. “Three guys were there so I decided it’s better not to argue.”

Saraff waited two days to report the crime because he was unsure of how University police operated.

“I didn’t know what to do. This is my first time coming to the United States,” he said.

Saraff, a native of India, said the experience has not ruined his first few months in the United States. He said he still feels safe, but he will not walk alone late at night.

Tim Sturrock covers cops and courts and welcomes comments at
[email protected] or
(612) 627-4070 ext. 3290