Handicap parking offenses increase during cold weather

Koran Addo

University staff member John Peterson was arrested Jan. 22 for illegally using a handicap permit issued to his deceased father.

University police Capt. Steve Johnson said police usually see an increase in this offense during bad weather. Police issued at least seven citations this month, many to University students and staff.

In another instance, University staff member William Lee told officers he was using his father’s permit because he was on his way to pick him up in downtown Minneapolis. Police later determined Lee’s father was in Wisconsin.

The offense is a serious misdemeanor punishable by a $520 fine in Hennepin County, Johnson said.

ï University police have responded to a number of thefts from motor vehicles during University sporting events in both the Oak Street Parking Ramp and the Huron Boulevard Parking Complex.

Johnson said that during sporting events, thieves know people leave cars unattended for several hours, making them attractive targets.

University police officials said they increase parking lot security during sporting events and urge people to call the police if they see any suspicious activity.

“When you hear a car alarm, react to it,” Johnson said. “Call the police.”

Other precautions include leaving valuables out of sight or taking them into the events.

Johnson said the latter is the safest bet because thieves sometimes break into the car’s trunk through the back seat.

&byll; A University student was arrested Jan. 23 when Minneapolis police and fire officials responded to an arson call in Pioneer Hall.

Several witnesses reported seeing an intoxicated male set the fire. Charges are pending.