No lazy summer break for U Police

by Jessica Steeno

University Police had a busy summer solving crimes occurring on or near campus.
A former University employee was arrested and charged with firing a shot in University President Nils Hasselmo’s office on June 11.
Jennifer Joan May, a former secretary in the chemistry department, walked into Hasselmo’s office and demanded to see the University president. After an office staff member told her she would have to wait, May fired a bullet into the ceiling of the University president’s office with what witnesses said was a .38 caliber weapon.
May was arrested June 15 after witnesses picked her driver’s license picture out of a photo lineup. This allowed police to obtain a search warrant for the home of May’s mother, where she was staying at the time. After police discovered a weapon and garments matching the description of the clothing worn by the suspect, May admitted to police she was the person who fired the shot in Hasselmo’s office.
She was charged June 18 with four counts of second-degree assault — one count for each person in the office at the time of the incident.
May was released June 28 from Hennepin County Adult Detention Center on $100,000 bail.
May was a University employee from 1981 to 1991. From 1987 to 1991, she worked as a secretary in the chemistry department. Prior to 1987, she was a secretary in the surgery department at University Hospital. May filed charges of sexual harassment against her supervisor, chemistry department Chairman Ronald W. Gentry in May of 1991. The charges were dismissed by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action in August 1991 because of lack of evidence.
Gentry said in a written statement that he and May had a mutual and consensual relationship prior to her charges of harassment against him. Gentry was separated from his wife at the time, and May was estranged from her husband.
Gentry reconciled with his wife in February of 1991. Shortly afterward, May filed a complaint with the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
When May’s charges of sexual harassment were dismissed, May began placing abusive phone calls to Gentry and sending him abusive notes. Gentry was granted a restraining order against her in May 1993, and said he hasn’t had contact with her since.

In other police news occurring between June 7 and Sept 17, 1996:
Police confiscated $1,080 worth of stolen University computer equipment June 7 from the rooms of two University students at Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house.
The warrant stated police had reason to believe the two students might be involved in stealing computer equipment valued at $9,080.
One of the suspects worked at the bookstore in Williamson Hall, according to the warrant. Officials believed he took invoices for equipment that had already been purchased by the College of Agriculture. The other suspect allegedly filled out the invoices and illegally picked up the equipment.
Both students were charged with felony theft.
ù A semi truck hit a University bus June 11 when it failed to stop at a stop sign at Malcolm Avenue and the Transitway, said Roger Huss, coordinator of University Parking and Transportation Services.
The driver of the bus had finished his route and was headed for a garage near the St. Paul campus when the collision occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Only the driver was on the bus, and no one was injured.
“The truck hit the tail end of the bus, a third of the way back,” Huss said. “It caught the left side of the bus pretty good. It was a good thing no one was on the bus.”
ù A University graduate student discovered what appeared to be a bomb made from a toilet seat, wires and other materials June 20 on the doorstep of her Dinkytown duplex.
Attached to the object was a note containing profanity and a warning that moving the device would make it explode.
The student called the police and they determined the bomb was a fake.
“It was really startling to look at it at first, but it was totally fake,” the student said. “I was more angry than anything.”
The police have no suspects in this incident.
ù Two men assaulted a University student June 29 while he worked as a bouncer at Sparky’s Bar at 2001 University Ave. S.E.
The student sustained bruises, a swollen face and scratches to his arms and hands when two men assaulted him, according to a Minneapolis Police report. The men fled on foot.
Police have no suspects in this case.
ù A man was arrested July 19 in Walter Library for exposing his genitals to a student studying there, according to a University Police report.
University Police Officer Charles Miner was called to the scene and said the man, who is not a University student or staff member, was sitting across the table from a woman who was studying. The woman called the police after she saw the man’s genitals several times. The woman said she believed the man was intentionally exposing himself to her, Miner said. After police arrived, she made a citizen’s arrest.
Miner did a background check on the suspect and discovered the man had violated a probation order and there was a warrant out for his arrest. Miner arrested him for indecent exposure and violation of probation.
ù A bomb threat led to an evacuation of staff and visitors July 30 at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum.
An anonymous person phoned an office assistant at the administration desk of the museum at 1:50 p.m. and said there was a bomb in the building. Robert Bitzan, public affairs director at the museum, announced the evacuation shortly thereafter, and about 45 staff members and visitors left the building.
Police and staff determined the threat was false, and visitors were allowed back in the building at about 3:15 p.m.
Jennifer Rymarkiewicz took the call and said she remembers a man saying there would be a bomb “in the name of Allah” at 2:15 p.m. in the museum, and that the threat wasn’t a joke.
“I was scared momentarily,” Rymarkiewicz said. “With the bombing in Atlanta, I think there’s a lot of copycat stuff going on.”
A few minutes before Rymarkiewicz received the call, Minneapolis Police received a similar phone threat, said Penny Parrish, Minneapolis Police public information officer. She said an anonymous caller claimed there was a bomb “in the name of Allah” in downtown Minneapolis at the Norwest Tower.
Parrish said the callers might have said “in the name of Allah” to shift blame for the incidents away from themselves and onto Muslims.
Bitzan said the museum was probably the target of a bomb threat because it is a popular public destination and very visible.
Police have no suspects in this case.
ù A motorist hit a bicyclist with his car Aug. 1 in Dinkytown.
The bicyclist was heading south in a bike lane on 15th Avenue Southeast past Fourth Street when the motorist struck the bicycle’s rear tire with his car.
The motorist then got out of the car and hit the bicyclist in the back of the head with his fist, said University Police Officer Perry Dunfee.
The victim, a senior in the Institute of Technology, said this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened to him.
“Sometimes motorists don’t want you on the road,” he said. “That’s the second time I’ve been hit on 15th Avenue.”
Witnesses said they thought the car intentionally hit the bicyclist.
“A lot of us were kind of in disbelief,” said Joshua Vincent, a mechanical engineering senior who saw the incident. “He just started hollering like he’d had a bad day at the office. People just gotta chill out behind the wheel, I guess.”
Vincent and others recorded the motorist’s license plate as he drove away from the scene of the crime.
Police arrested the motorist later at his home for aggravated assault and hit-and-run, Dunfee said.
ù Two University area businesses were robbed in the same week in early September.
The first robbery occurred at Valu Liquors, 901 University Ave. S.E.
A man entered the business, pointed a gun at the manager, and ordered him to open the cash register and lie on the ground, according to the police report.
The suspect proceeded to empty the cash register, then fled the business on foot, the report stated.
Police have no suspects in the incident.
The second robbery occurred Sept. 7 at Econo Lodge hotel, 2500 University Ave. S.E.
A man walked into the lobby of the hotel and, claiming to have a gun, he demanded all of the money in the cash register, according to a Minneapolis Police report.
The cashier gave the man around $200, said Pat Shea, general manager of the University Econo Lodge.
The cashier never saw a gun.
The suspect fled on foot, and police have no suspects in the incident.