Student finds man in room, alerts police

University Police found a man sleeping in a Sanford Hall room with a .22-caliber handgun.
According to police reports, night manager Erik Bantly received a complaint from a resident who said a man with a gun had been sleeping in her room all day.
When officers arrived at the room, they found Brendon Michael Battles sleeping on the floor with a Ruger handgun in the desk drawer.
Officers booked Battles at the Hennepin County Jail on a felony warrant for possession of a controlled substance. He also had two misdemeanor warrants.
Police reports said Battles claimed he was holding the gun for an man identified only as Troy.
Battles could not be reached for comment.
Sgt. Joe May said possessing a gun is not a crime in residence halls, but it is against the rules. He said the gun was not stolen and Battles had no drugs in his possession. Battles was only charged for the warrants.
Guns are banned from residence halls, said Ralph Rickgarn, coordinator of student behavior for the Office of Housing and Residential Life.
“There is too much of a possibility of something going wrong,” Rickgarn said. “Someone could get killed.”
He said whoever allowed Battles into the hall with the gun could face punishment ranging from a warning to expulsion.
The voice mail message at the student’s room said she had moved out. She could not be reached for comment.

In other police news:
ù Eau Claire officials charged Eric J. Birkholz Thursday with swindling female college students in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Sgt. Bill Ingram of the Eau Claire campus police said Birkholz, who was arrested in Las Vegas, March 3, now faces extradition to Wisconsin. Ingram said Birkholz, 24, has used the alias Roberto Salezar.
Birkholz, of Neenah, Wis., was charged with one count of fraud for allegedly swindling $4,000 from students he randomly called. According to reports, he gave them a hard-luck story.
“His claim was that he wanted to get a plane ticket back to his parent’s home,” Ingram said. Birkholz was in Las Vegas when he made the calls.
Birkholz allegedly called students at the University of Minnesota, Beloit College and branches of the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Stout.
Police authorities in Las Vegas found Western Union receipts in Birkholz’s hotel totaling more than $4,000, but they only covered a two-week period, Ingram said.
“I heard there was considerably more money than what was found,” Ingram said.
Laura Lindquist, a University of Minnesota graduate, said Birkholz scammed her in March. She said he gave her the plane ticket story and she sent him $420.
“It’s because I’m a notoriously nice person,” Lindquist said. “He couldn’t have hand-picked a better person.”
Lindquist said she probably won’t reclaim her money. She would have to file a civil suit in Birkholz’s home county, which she said would be inconvenient.

ù Problems with halfway houses continue around the University.
Sunday night, residents of the Arrigoni House, located on Fifth Street and University Avenue, called Minneapolis Police after seeing a red laser dot floating around the room and on a member’s forehead.
“These people are from the street and they thought it was a gun,” said Vicky Frahm, the house’s executive director.
Officers arrived and quickly fished a man out of the building next door, which Frahm said houses students from the University.
Fourth-year economics major Matt Toomey said he accidentally flashed a laser-pointing device into the Arrigoni House while playing with his cat.
“It was a big accident,” Toomey said. “I apologized, and it wasn’t forced.”
Frahm said she has encountered problems from her next-door neighbors before.
“They throw beer bottles and trash and my guys have to go pick them up,” Frahm said. The halfway house residents are trying to stay sober, she added.
But Toomey said nothing like that has happened.
“They’ve never expressed anything to us. Maybe it was the people who lived here before.”
This incident follows complaints last month from sorority house residents that halfway house residents at a different location near the University were harassing them.