As University of Minnesota student Seola Park got into her friend’s car after a night out at the Library Bar and Grill, she realized her purse was missing.
She went back to the bar, but neither she nor the staff was able to find it.
A waste management company representative called Park a few days later to tell her that her credit cards but not her purse, had been found in the garbage.
“I’m still not sure what happened from the time I left the bar to when I hopped into my
friend’s car,” Park said.
Minneapolis police are starting to hear stories like Park’s too often.
Thefts in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood are up by 7 percent since this time last year, crime prevention specialist Nick Juarez said, and they’re occurring more often in bars and at parties, he said.
“Usually we just see a high number of bicycle thefts during the school year,” Juarez said. “But this type of theft, where people are leaving stuff at the bar or turning their back on their phone, just seems more common now.”
Police are struggling to understand why the increase is occurring, he said.
“It’s not an easy thing to answer,” he said. “There’s not necessarily a new batch of people coming into Dinkytown — I think people might be starting to get a little careless.”
Thefts in other neighborhoods around the University, like Como and Prospect Park, haven’t increased because there are fewer bars, he said.
“They don’t have the bar structure or entertainment district Marcy-Holmes has,” he said.
The increase of students in Marcy-Holmes may be one reason thefts are increasing, said Greg Pillsbury, owner of Burrito Loco Bar and Grill.
“A lot of people used to go to Sally’s Saloon and Stub and Herb’s [in Stadium Village],” he said. “But the light-rail construction really hurt them, so I think there are more people around.”
With an increase in students comes an increase in expensive items like iPhones, Pillsbury said. Those items are a “hot ticket” for thieves at bars and parties, he said.
“The problem is, everyone is carrying high-value stuff,” he said. “There’s just more to steal.”
The best way to combat theft is for students and residents to stay informed, Juarez said.
“Face-to-face communication is probably the best way to get the message out and remind people that they need to keep their things on them,” he said.
Since Marcy-Holmes has new students coming and going every year, he said the same message needs to be repeated
“The information is out there,” he said. “It’s just a matter of tapping into it.”