University of Minnesota police didn’t cite anyone for possessing illegal fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend.
Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the holiday is usually “fairly quiet” around campus because many students leave the area to visit family or go on vacation.
“That held true again this year,” Miner said. University police didn’t step up patrols for the Fourth of July.
Citywide, violent crime over the week of July 4 has increased 41 percent over last year. A man died July 4 from a gunshot wound to the chest on South Grand Avenue, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office.
Miner said police sometimes receive calls about fireworks that actually turn out to be gunshots, but he can’t remember that ever happening to University police.
Two thefts from Smith Hall
Two thefts have occurred in Smith Hall so far this month, according to University police reports.
Michelle Driessen, associate chemistry professor, said she left her office for less than 30 seconds on Monday to fill her water bottle.
She passed a nervous-looking man on the way back, she said.
“As soon as he got past me, he took off running,” Driessen said. She chased after him but couldn’t catch up. The man stole Driessen’s iPhone and iPad Mini from her desk.
Miner said suspects in office thefts often wait to see when their victims leave or walk around campus, looking for unlocked doors and offices.
Chemistry graduate student Zahra Sohrabpour said she and her coworker had their work laptops stolen from their Smith Hall office sometime between July 1 and 2.
The window to the basement office is usually locked, Sohrabpour said, but that night somebody left it open. Police found fingerprints on the window the next morning.
Miner said the fact that both thefts occurred in Smith Hall could be a coincidence, because one happened afterhours and the other one occurred during the day.
Minneapolis police have recorded 539 thefts so far this year in the 2nd Precinct, which includes the University.
Man assaulted at party
A man was assaulted at a party in his Southeast Como home early Sunday morning, according to a Minneapolis police report.
The man gave his debit card to a co-worker and asked him to go buy cigarettes, the report said. When he asked for his card back, the co-worker started hitting him in the face with his belt buckle until two neighbors pulled them apart. Both the victim and the suspect then left the party.
Witnesses found the victim lying under a street sign a block away about an hour later, the report said.
The victim told them the co-worker had attacked him again. But another witness told police he saw the victim throw the suspect to the ground and kick him in the face.
Police found the suspect about 20 minutes later with head injuries.
He and the victim were both taken to the hospital. Neither of them were cited, and police are still investigating.
Only four other assaults have occurred in Como this year, according to Minneapolis police data.
More laptop thefts
Someone broke into a University alumna’s Como Avenue Southeast house on the Fourth of July and stole two laptops, a suitcase and about $100 in cash while she was out watching fireworks.
Ariane Foster said she was the first to notice anything missing when she and her roommates came home around midnight.
The dresser drawers in Foster’s bedroom had been rifled through, she said, but none of her things were stolen.
She later found a hole in a window screen on the front porch and said she thinks that’s how the suspect got in.
“It’s kind of eerie in your house after people come in that you don’t know,” Foster said. “There’s this … feeling that kind of just lingers.”
Police have recorded 29 other burglaries in Como this year.
A University student had his laptop stolen from his upstairs apartment on Sixth Street Southeast on July 3, according to another police report.
The common door to the victim’s building was unlocked, the report said. His laptop was stolen from his bedroom, which was also unlocked.
Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said police don’t yet have enough information to know whether the laptop thefts are