Fourth felony is issued in riots

A 19-year-old man was charged with arson for allegedly trying to set a car aflame on April 12.

Rocky Thompson

The Hennepin County attorney announced Tuesday a fourth person has been charged with a felony in the April 12 riot after the Gophers men’s hockey NCAA championship.

Nicholas Chlebeck, a 19-year-old Lake Elmo resident, is charged with second-degree arson for allegedly trying to set Lucy Kervin’s Hyundai on fire in the parking lot next to Erbert & Gerbert’s at 15th Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street Southeast.

News footage taken by a local television station at the riot showed the Hyundai on its side with gasoline pouring onto the ground from a hole in the tank.

A man approached the car and threw a burning object at it, but it failed to ignite.

Later, another man approached the Hyundai with a burning branch, and the car burst into flames.

The second man was allegedly Ahmad Samaha, who was charged with second-degree arson April 18 and has a pretrial hearing scheduled for June 10.

When police showed Chlebeck the video, he admitted he was the first man on the tape, prosecutors said.

Police received calls from two people who identified Chlebeck in response to television reports of the riot.

To date, five people have been charged in relation to the riots. Two of them are students.

Four of the charges are felonies filed by the county prosecutor. The city attorney charged a fifth person with one gross misdemeanor and two misdemeanors.

Jason Niehaus, a 20-year-old University student, has a pretrial hearing scheduled for May 15. He has been charged with second-degree arson for allegedly setting fire to a parking booth.

Travis Hinck, a 19-year-old student charged with first-degree damage of property, has pleaded innocent. He has a pretrial hearing May 22.

Chlebeck is among the three people charged who are not students.