Slow crime week doesn’t arrest police

by Andrew Tellijohn

Whether it was because of the cold weather or the lunar cycle, it was a slow week for University Police reports.
“The amount of crime ebbs and flows, and I can’t really connect it to anything,” University Police Sgt. Joe May said. “There seems to be no predictability to it.”
But in spite of the light caseload, University Police still had incidents to deal with this week.
ù Two janitors in the Mayo Memorial Building got into a fight Friday morning over a debt.
According to the police report, Richard Fuentes, a University janitor for more than 20 years, approached Belay Mehretab in the building’s break room and asked Mehretab to repay some money he had borrowed.
When Mehretab said he owed considerably less than Fuentes had requested, Fuentes allegedly grabbed him by the throat. Then Fuentes allegedly punched him repeatedly in the head and slammed Mehretab’s head against a brick wall.
According to the police report, Fuentes threatened Mehretab with a knife and said, “I’ll kill you any time, at your house, at any place,” before fleeing the scene.
A witness called the police and Mehretab was taken to Fairview Riverside Medical Center where he was treated for two loose teeth, a swollen neck and tenderness on the back of his head. He has since been released.
ù A University student was cited early Sunday morning for trying to steal a poster of the artist formerly known as Prince from a bus stop on the corner of Oak Street and Delaware Street.
Another University student, who requested that his name be withheld, said he saw the suspect hunched over in the bus shelter.
“I knew a couple of times posters have been stolen (from bus shelters) and I just put two-and-two together,” the witness said.
He said that when people began walking out of Stadium Village bars, the suspect began walking around, possibly trying to kill time until everyone was gone.
The witness said that instead of confronting the suspect himself and possibly getting hurt or hindering an investigation, he called the police.
“If the guy is dumb enough to try to steal a bus poster, I’m not sure it’s worth my time to try to go stop him,” the witness said.
According to the police report, the suspect was cited for damage to property and theft.
“I was kind of glad the guy got off with a ticket. I think that’s what it should be — a slap upside the head saying you were stupid,” the witness said.
ù Emotions ran high at Mariucci Arena on Saturday night during the Gopher hockey game.
According to a police report, Maurice Michael Monahan was watching the game when a man asked him to sit down. When Monahan refused, the man placed his hand on Monahan’s shoulder and pushed him into his seat.
Then the man punched Monahan in the chin, according to the report, and security was called.
The man was charged with fifth-degree assault and removed from the building.
ù Two men were cited for disorderly conduct Saturday night when University Police caught them urinating in public outside Mariucci Arena.
Sgt. Joe May said the offense is not common but cleanliness factors and community standards mandate that people are charged when they are observed urinating in public.