On Wednesday, University Police officers encountered 55-year-old Edgar Coleman on three separate occasions, the last of which landed Coleman in jail.
Coleman has been arrested more than 18 times in the last two years for various offenses, mostly begging and trespassing. He is no longer permitted inside University buildings, but was found inside Walter Library at 4:27 p.m. and given a ticket for trespassing.
Less than an hour later, officers saw him again, panhandling at Nicholson Hall. He was ticketed for begging and transported to the Dorothy Day shelter in Minneapolis.
“The shelter can provide clothing, housing, food and employment assistance,” said University Police officer Erik Swanson. “We were trying to encourage him to find an alternative situation.”
But Coleman returned to Walter Library just before 10 p.m., where University Police officer Erik Stenemann arrested him for burglary of business. He was transported to Hennepin County Jail, where he remains awaiting $1,000 bail.
“Edgar is like a homing pigeon,” Swanson said. “No matter how many times you take him in, he returns.”
The burglary charge is a gross misdemeanor filed when a person enters a building without consent, and with the intent to commit a misdemeanor other than theft. In this case, the offense was once again trespassing.
If convicted, Coleman faces a penalty of up to a year in jail and a possible $3,000 fine.
Swanson said Coleman, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was a teaching assistant at the University. He said Coleman was arrested several years ago for tackling a University staff member around the knees, and later for assaulting a student.
Now, Swanson said, Coleman continues to interact with police because he spends most of his days on the University campus, and often sleeps in University buildings. Swanson said Coleman had a Minnesota identification card listing a University building as his home address.
“We try to make Edgar understand that you can’t live in the buildings,” Swanson said. “He will hide in a classroom and keep himself in there, where he uses pop bottles as urinals so he doesn’t have to leave the room until morning.”
The University Police Department attempts to balance the law enforcement efforts with attempts to assist Coleman in changing his situation, Swanson said. But, he added, Coleman has shown no interest in finding housing or employment.
In other police news:
ù A burglar broke through a window at the Eighth Street Market, located at 630 8th St. S.E., stealing more than 20 cartons of cigarettes in the early morning on Wednesday.
The alarm company called store owner James Rosengren, who arrived minutes later. The burglar never entered the store, but broke the window and reached through, causing more than $1,000 in damage and loss.
Rosengren said he has moved the cigarettes and will add bars to the window, but added that he hopes to do it in a decorative manner.
“I don’t want to make this area look like a state penitentiary,” he said.
ù University Police responded to an alleged fifth-degree assault at Bailey Hall when University student Ryan Marsh reported that his roommate pushed him down after an argument on Nov. 9.
Marsh, 19, said he reported the assault to the hall coordinator, but the police were not called for some time. He said that he is now in a temporary room, while the suspect is staying in the room they shared.
“I don’t feel like I should have been the one to move,” he said. “Housing (Services) has been very lenient with him, and I wonder what kind of message they are trying to send.”
ù A male identifying himself as “Victor the Ghost” reportedly called the Office of Student Admissions on Thursday, and stated that “All women should be strangled and die.”
University Police have no suspects in the case.