Man charged with possession of theft tools on West Bank

Justin Costley

Mark Ehlers, 21, was charged Dec. 8 with possession of burglary or theft tools in Hennepin County District Court.
Court documents state University Police officers arrested Ehlers Dec. 7 outside the West Bank’s Anderson Hall.
Rebecca Sandvick, a Facilities Management operations supervisor, reported the incident after witnessing Ehlers, who was inside the hall at the time, crawling around the floor near vending machines after 2 a.m.
Officers identified and searched Ehlers outside the building. He had two screwdrivers, two long silver pick-like tools and a can of soda.
Sandvick identified Ehlers on the scene as the man she had seen by the vending machines, according to the police report.
This isn’t the first time Ehlers has come to the attention of University authorities.
District court records show a Minneapolis city attorney previously charged Ehlers in Dec. 1999 with lurking with the intent to commit a crime on the West Bank.
Pleading guilty in February, Ehlers was released with one-year probation on the conditions that he have no contact with the University’s West Bank and no loitering violations or theft-related charges.
This latest charge violates the probation agreement, but a Hennepin County Attorney’s Office spokesperson said it would be premature to speculate on what a judge might do concerning the probation violation.
His first court appearance is Friday. If convicted, Ehlers could face up to three years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

In other police news:
An unidentified suspect attempted to rob the SuperAmerica gas station at 3357 University Ave. S.E. on Dec. 10.
The robbery occurred shortly after 8 p.m., while University student Michelle Tomerlin was working at the store.
Tomerlin said a man entered the store, told her he had a gun in his pocket and asked her to give him the cash register’s contents.
Tomerlin said at first she didn’t think he was serious, and that the gun wasn’t real.
“I argued with him because I didn’t really think he had a gun,” Tomerlin said. “I was like, that’s not a gun. He said ‘Yes it is.’ It looked like a marker to me.”
Despite the disagreement, Tomerlin said the man did not appear to become angry at any time.
“I think he was kind of scared,” she said.
After arguing briefly, Tomerlin said she opened the drawer and pulled a lever triggering a security camera.
Thinking she had just set off a silent alarm, however, the suspect fled before receiving any of the money and left the scene immediately.
Police reports state the suspect left in a blue or turquoise Chevrolet and fled westbound on University Avenue.
“When he was there, I wasn’t scared at all,” Tomerlin said. “I just didn’t really believe it. I got scared after he was gone, when it hit me that I could’ve been shot or killed.”

Justin Costley covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3224.