UMPD expects spike in nightly trespassers

Also, four car break-ins during the Vikings game raised concerns.

Nick Wicker

As temperatures drop to bitterly cold levels, the University of Minnesota Police Department expects to see a rise of cases of people unaffiliated with the University staying overnight in campus buildings, Lt. Troy Buhta said.

University buildings are particularly attractive to trespassers during winter months, he said.

Most recently, a 38-year-old man was cited with obstruction of the legal process on Thursday after officers were alerted that he was sleeping on the basement floor of Rapson Hall, a police report said.

The campus’s expansive size and the area’s large transient population make these sorts of cases common, Buhta said, but also hard to detect at times.

“We’re so big, there’s a lot of cracks and crannies where these people can spend the night,” Buhta said. “It makes it difficult to check every place.”

Because these cases occur across a wide array of locations, Buhta says UMPD relies on staff and students to call in incidents of this nature.

Ramp break-ins

An unknown number of suspects broke into four vehicles parked in the Fourth Street Ramp during the Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday, according to police reports.

The reports said police found no suspect information and specified that at least three of the four thefts took place in areas unmonitored by security cameras. Buhta said little can be done to catch the suspects after the fact.

He cited a similar scenario last year that was not resolved until officers staked out the Oak Street Ramp for three days, waiting for the sound of shattered glass.

“It’s a tough one to stop,” Buhta said. “These bad guys are either walking through the ramps or are on bikes just looking into windows. If they see something, they smash the window and they’re gone.”

Buhta said that although parking ramps often have cameras at their entrances and exits, it can still be hard to identify suspects. He also said officers often don’t know which footage to focus on since the thefts could’ve occurred over the entire time the vehicles were left unattended.

While the lack of surveillance makes it hard to catch offenders of this type of smash-and-grab crime, Buhta said it would be inefficient to implement building-wide cameras.

A first for Como bar’s longtime employee

Michael Manning was bartending at Manning’s Café in Southeast Como on Monday afternoon when a disgruntled woman called the restaurant, according to a police report.

The woman called the restaurant repeatedly and claimed that she had eaten at the restaurant over the weekend but didn’t receive all the food she had paid for, the report said.

“I wasn’t the one working over the weekend, so I suggested she talk to the manager who was working then,” Manning said. “She became very agitated and abusive, and it escalated to her coming in here and creating a big scene.”

According to the report, she threatened to rob the bar during one phone call.

Manning said the altercation climaxed when the woman spit in his face, which led the Minneapolis Police Department to file a report for assault.

After he consulted with the manager who had worked over the weekend, Manning said he believed it was unlikely that the woman had even been in the restaurant earlier and was instead attempting a scam.

“I’ve been working here 36 years,” Manning said. “I’ve never had any situation like that in here.”